Coronado Conspiracy


Recently, I sat down with Coronado Times reporter Coree Cornelius to talk about Coronado, about family, and about writing. Coree is married to a serving U.S. Navy officer, so she understands the Navy better than most. During our wide-ranging interview she was especially focused on my most recent book, the re-booted “The Coronado Conspiracy.”

Without revealing the plot, The Coronado Conspiracy focuses on the issue of civilian control of the U.S. military – something that is certainly timely in today’s political environment. The central question is this – what could and would senior U.S. military officers do if they thought the president was leading the nation’s military to doom.  Here is the part of our interview:

The Coronado Conspiracy was just released by Braveship Books earlier this summer, and a revamped version of For Duty and Honor will be published sometime in 2018. Galdorisi says a military background is definitely not a prerequisite for reading his novel. The main character of both The Coronado Conspiracy and For Duty and Honor, Rick Holden, is a former CIA operative who is now undercover as a US Navy SEAL. Of his book, Galdorisi likens it to a combination of movies, saying, “It’s like Clear and Present Danger meets No Way Out. It’s drug cartel focused, and the people trying to uncover the crime become suspects themselves.”

You can read the full article here.

Media Blending


Most would agree that most media is blending and even merging.

While there were once clear, bright lines between books, TV shows, video games, podcasts and other media, now these seem to be blending and the lines are increasingly opaque.

This trend seems to be accelerating, and after reading two New York Times articles, “‘Minecraft: The Island’ Blurs the Line Between Fiction and Gaming,” and “How to Make a Movie Out of Anything — Even a Mindless Phone Game” I’m convinced this acceleration may be becoming exponential. Just to whet your appetite:

From “‘Minecraft: The Island’ Blurs the Line Between Fiction and Gaming:”

The protagonist of Max Brooks’s new fantasy novel doesn’t have a name, a gender or even normal human appendages. Instead of hands, the narrator has clumsy, flesh-toned cubes, just one more weird feature of the strange and unsettling world where the story unfolds, where everything — the sun, clouds, cows, mushrooms, watermelons — is composed of squares.

For the uninitiated, the setting may seem bizarre and disorienting, but Mr. Brooks isn’t writing for novices or lay readers. He’s writing for a very particular tribe: die-hard devotees of the video game Minecraft.

From “How to Make a Movie Out of Anything — Even a Mindless Phone Game:”

The trend toward intellectual property.-¬based movies has been profound. In 1996, of the top 20 grossing films, nine were live-¬action movies based on wholly original screenplays. In 2016, just one of the top 20 grossing movies, ‘‘La La Land,’’ fit that bill. Just about everything else was part of the Marvel universe or the DC Comics universe or the ‘‘Harry Potter’’ universe or the ‘‘Star Wars’’ universe or the ‘‘Star Trek’’ universe or the fifth Jason Bourne film or the third ‘‘Kung Fu Panda’’ or a super-¬high-¬tech remake of ‘‘Jungle Book.’’ Just outside the top 20, there was a remake of ‘‘Ghostbusters’’ and yet another version of ‘‘Tarzan.’’

You can read both articles here, and here.

Writing Update


It has been a busy year from a writing perspective, embarking on a number of fiction and non-fiction projects. One thing that has made the work joyful, rather than drudgery, has been a super-supportive family, as well as a community that has embraced the arts in a positive way. Read more about the City of Coronado Cultural Arts Commission here:

Probably the most exciting writing adventure this year has been joining Braveship Books. A creation of writers and entrepreneurs Matt Cook and Jeff Edwards, this new publishing imprint leverages emerging technologies in printing, distribution and communications to produce books in the action adventure, thriller and sci-fi and fantasy genres. You can read more about Braveship Books here:

Braveship Books has just published my first Rick Holden Thriller, the Coronado Conspiracy in both print and e-book versions.

Recently, Coronado Eagle-Journal reporter, David Axelson, caught up with me and captured my recent writing adventures.

Want more? You can read the full article here.

Military Revolt


What happens when the nation’s most senior military leaders chafe under that country’s elected leader and want him out of office? They set in motion a spiraling chain of events that will lead to his ouster.

Sounds like something that happens in a third-world country doesn’t it? Only it isn’t there, it’s here, in the United States. It’s Seven Days in May on steroids. It’s Clear and Present Danger meets No Way Out.

Just released by Braveship Books, The Coronado Conspiracy is here with a vengeance. There is a conspiracy at the very heart of the American government. And bringing down the President of the United States is only the first step.

Here is what P.T. Deutermann, had to say: “A high speed, action-packed naval thriller that delivers a fascinating look at some coiling devils who get loose in a maze of military intrigue. A fun read.”

And here is what by Dick Couch had to say: “A modern naval adventure against a very real and present danger. Galdorisi commands comfortably from the onset of hostilities and through the twists and turns of this thrilling narrative.”

Leaders and Solitude


Not many of us associate the two words “leadership” and “solitude.” That’s why I was intrigued by a review of the new book, “Lead Yourself First.” The essence of the review is that leaders need solitude to have the chance to “percolate” and “marinate” in his or her own feelings and to step out of events and locate the sacred space where he or she can reflect on what’s going on inside himself, thus attaining the moral and emotional conviction necessary to act.

In the review, Andrew Stark makes many interesting points, saying, for example:

Former Campbell Soup CEO Doug Conant runs into it in his garden. For entrepreneur Sarah Dillard, it’s to be found when she’s hiking. Tim Hall, a cycling coach, grabs some of it while gazing out at his bird feeder over coffee every morning. The pastor Jimmy Bartz encounters it while fly fishing.

What they are discovering, as Raymond M. Kethledge and Michael S. Erwin report in “Lead Yourself First,” is solitude, a vitally necessary but all too scarce commodity for organizational leaders. It’s scarce because, even more than the rest of us, leaders get bombarded 24/7 by attention-demanding memos, tweets, texts, emails, phone calls, videoconferences and hallway button-holings.

It’s necessary because only with some alone-time can leaders hope to gain a “sense of control” over all that incoming information, as communications officer Jaya Vadlamudi tells the authors. Only by herself, she says, can she hope to “whittle” such stimuli down to the essentials and reach clarity. Or as the Schwab executive Peter Crawford puts it: Solitude makes it possible to engage in the mental equivalent of “stripping away all the cookies on a computer. Once they’re cleared, my mind works better.”

Read more of this revealing article here.

Ayn Rand


Few would argue that Ayn Rand was one of the most provocative writers of the 20th Century. Books such as “The Fountainhead” and “Atlas Shrugged” were mainstays of college courses and were books embraced by many as a recipe for a successful and fulfilling life.

Today, Rand’s books are popular again.

President Trump named Rand his favorite writer and “The Fountainhead” his favorite novel. Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson has cited “Atlas Shrugged” as a favorite work, and the C.I.A. director, Mike Pompeo, said the book “really had an impact on me.”

As Ray Dalio, the founder of Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund, put it in a recent essay, “her books pretty well capture the mind-set” of the Trump administration. “This new administration hates weak, unproductive, socialist people and policies,” he wrote, “and it admires strong, can-do profit makers.”

In business, Rand’s influence has been especially pronounced in Silicon Valley, where her overarching philosophy that “man exists for his own sake, that the pursuit of his own happiness is his highest moral purpose, that he must not sacrifice himself to others, nor sacrifice others to himself,” as she described it in a 1964 Playboy interview, has an obvious appeal for self-made entrepreneurs. Last year Vanity Fair anointed her the most influential figure in the technology industry, surpassing Steve Jobs.

But lately, many Rand devotees have been running into trouble. Travis Kalanick’s abrupt departure as chief executive of Uber, the Internet-based ride-hailing service he built into a private corporation worth $50 billion or more, is the latest Icarus-like plunge of a prominent executive identified with Rand.

The hedge fund manager Edward S. Lampert, who some say has applied Rand’s Objectivist principles to the management of Sears and Kmart, has driven those venerable retailers close to bankruptcy.

Want more? You can read the full article here.

Life Imitates Art

AFCEA Singer1-1

I recently participated in a military-industry professional conference focused on future threats to national security. As part of that event, I was asked to be on a panel that explored how “life imitates art” and how the military and industry can (and do!) mine fiction to explore how warfighting will evolve in the future.

Fellow panelists included Mr. Peter Singer and Lieutenant Colonel Patrick Kirchner. Our goal was to help the conference delegates think outside the box.

Mr. Peter Singer is the author of many books about the military and technology (for example, Wired for War), and more recently, with August Cole, wrote the enormously popular novel Ghost Fleet.

Lieutenant Colonel Patrick Kirchner works for the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab in Quantico, Virginia. The Marine Corps Warfighting Lab sponsors a Science Fiction Writing Contest and publishes these works in a compendium. Why – to stimulate military men and women to have a view of the future they won’t get anywhere else.

Life DOES imitate art, and today we are using it to help ensure our warfighters – and those who support them – are never in a fair fight – but one they will always win.



Warfare has been a fact of life from the time that man first created weapons and used them against other men who presented threats to them.

I have been reading about warfare from the time I began my Navy career decades ago, and am always on the hunt for books that help me understand this phenomenon.

That’s why I found the New York Times article: “War Stories” by Thomas Ricks so valuable. He summarizes eleven new books that cover a wide array of scholarship on this subject.

Want more? You can read the entire article here.

The Islamic State Threat


Earlier this spring, I posted a blog that talked about our new national security paradigm, focused specifically on the “4+1 construct,” revealed by then Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter at the Reagan National Defense Forum in November 2015. This new way of looking at threats to our nation focuses on “four contingencies and one condition.” The Islamic State (ISIL) is the “condition.”

There are longstanding challenges that the Islamic State pose to the West, among them:

  • Dedicated to establishing a caliphate across the Middle East and North Africa
  • Unlike other terrorist groups, takes and holds territory
  • Intent on conducting attacks in the West as well as Middle East and North Africa
  • Demonstrated ability to reappear after territory is taken

But It’s fair to ask, since the “4+1 construct” was posited a year-and-a-half ago, have things gotten better or worse vis-à-vis our ability to contain the Islamic State? I fell it’s worse, because:

  • Coalition fissures hamper coordinated military action against ISIL
  • Demonstrated willingness to hold civilian population hostage
  • Losing territory in Iraq and Syria has not ended violent extremism
  • More troops are being requested for both Iraq and Afghanistan
  • ISIL continues to hold on to portions of Mosul, Iraq
  • Difficulty marshaling coalition support to oust ISIL from Raqqa, Iraq
  • Mastered the use of social media for propaganda and recruiting

When we came up with the high-concept for our third Tom Clancy Op-Center novel (Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Scorched Earth), some thought ISIL would be long-gone by the time the book was published in mid-2016. That hasn’t been the case. Here is part of what we said in our Author’s Introduction:

Few would argue against the statement that ISIS (or ISIL—the preferred term used by U.S. national security officials—the “L” standing for Levant,) presents a profound threat to the West. As President Obama said in a widely-watched speech in September 2014, “Our objective is clear:  We will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counterterrorism strategy.”

Almost two years later, U.S. national security officials remain perplexed as to how to deal with ISIS. No one is talking today, in 2017, about defeating ISIS, only containing them. What is happening in the greater Mideast in areas where ISIS roams freely will not resolve itself in the next several years. For Western nations, and especially for the United States, today’s headlines are looming as tomorrow’s nightmare.

ISIS will remain a threat to the West—and especially to the United States—years into the future because America has not come to grips with how to deal with this threat. As Jessica Stern and J.M. Berger describe in their best-selling book, ISIS: The State of Terror, and as Michael Weiss and Hassan Hassan describe in their best-seller ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror, the very nature of ISIS makes attempts to deal with it by employing the conventional instruments of national power all-but futile. Here is how Michiko Kakutani framed the challenge ISIS presents in his Books of the Times review of these two books:

The Islamic State and its atrocities—beheadings, mass executions, the enslavement of women and children, and the destruction of cultural antiquities—are in the headlines every day now. The terror group not only continues to roll through the Middle East, expanding from Iraq and Syria into Libya and Yemen, but has also gained dangerous new affiliates in Egypt and Nigeria and continues to recruit foreign fighters through its sophisticated use of social media. Given the ascendance of the Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL), it’s startling to recall that in January 2014, President Obama referred to it as a “J.V. team,” suggesting that it did not pose anywhere near the sort of threat that Al Qaeda did.

Life imitates art, and these are worrisome signs. Stay tuned to this blog over the next several weeks to learn more about other threats to our national security.


Published Praise for Dark Zone


In Rovin and Galdorisi’s absorbing military thriller, the fourth entry in the reboot of the Op-Center series created by Tom Clancy and Steve Pieczenik (after 2016’s Scorched Earth), Galina Ptrenko, a Ukrainian spy, contacts Douglas Flannery, a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, in New York City. Ptrenko is seeking information concerning a possible attack by Russia so the Ukrainian military can organize a preemptive strike. Soon after Flannery declines to help, Ptrenko is assassinated. Meanwhile, the operatives at the Op-Center turn up a virtual reality game based on simulated attacks on three Russian bases near the Ukraine border. Unknown forces in the Ukraine military have been using the VR game to train for an actual attack. It’s up to the Op-Center to find out who’s planning the attack and how to defuse it before a war becomes reality. While there isn’t a lot of actual fighting, the procedures involved in puzzling out what is real and what is not, who is involved and when the attack will happen, generate plenty of suspense. Agent: Mel Berger, WME. (May)

– Publishers Weekly