Cover Stories: Spies, Books & Entertainment

Along with my co-author, Kevin McDonald, we are out with a work of non-fiction giving aspiring writers tips on how to write, publish and sell a book. This is practical advice from those of us who have been there and done that – and will help you do so too. Listen Now!

How to Write A Best Selling Book Article by Defense Info

braveship writers home featured

George Galdorisi and Kevin McDonald have a great deal in common.

They are both widely published authors, and they previously served in active duty in the U.S. Navy.

And, now they want to help other aspiring writers, as they have co-authored a book about, well, writing a book.

Galdorisi, a Coronado resident, is a career naval aviator who has written 15 books published by mainstream publishers, including his New York Times bestseller, “Tom Clancy Presents: Act of Valor.”

He has a body of work including over 400 articles in national and international media, and is an op-ed contributor to The Coronado News.

McDonald, of Austin, Texas, was commissioned in the U.S. Navy in 1982 and graduated at the top of his flight-school class, spending the next eight years as a naval aviator.

He left the Navy to become a public-safety helicopter pilot in 1992.

He is the author of “Life Inside the Dead Man’s Curve” and “A Nation Interrupted.” Now retired from flying, he continues to write about aviation and history.

Serving in the Military to Co-authoring

The two authors, with separate illustrious bios, actually met during their time in the Navy when Galdorisi was McDonald’s commanding officer at HSL-43 in 1985.

Flash forward 30 years, the two of them recently set out to write “Braveship Writers Share their Secrets: How to Write Books People Actually Read.”

Galdorisi and McDonald in the book pool their knowledge together to share their greatest secrets to becoming a published author.

Before Galdorisi and McDonald spilled their secrets,  each of them followed different paths to go from a career in the Navy to a career in writing.

Galdorisi, who moved to Coronado in 1983 and currently works at the Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific, said it was not a distinct line that separated the time he stopped active duty and started writing.

“I was fortunate that during my Navy career I had commanding officers who encouraged me to write for professional publications; so that’s what I did,” Galdorisi said.

Start with what you know

He started with writing what he was interested in, which was the law of the sea.

Galdorisi said that all of the articles he wrote for professional publications prepared him well for writing military thrillers.

McDonald, who initially stepped foot in Coronado when he was stationed on the island during his time in the Navy in 1984, still returns religiously to the island from Austin every summer with his wife to visit old friends, Galdorisi included.

McDonald also wrote articles for professional journals and military magazines when he was in the Navy, but it wasn’t until after he retired from his second career flying EMS helicopters that he started writing books.

Reading Galdorisi’s book, “The Coronado Conspiracy,” McDonald said that was the first time he ever read a novel written by someone he knew.

McDonald was inspired, and decided to write his first book, “Life Inside the Dead Man’s Curve” in 2015.

The two of them decided to collaborate for their newest endeavor, pooling together their experience.

“When George first approached me about doing this project, I was kind of skeptical,” McDonald said. “I didn’t know how this was going to work with the both of us writing this book. And it actually worked out well because the reader gets more than one perspective.”

Despite each of their different writing styles, both authors said that they worked together well.

“It’s a great relationship that gave us the confidence to do the book,” Galdorisi said.

The secret?

So, what’s the secret to writing a book people actually will read?

Both Galdorisi and McDonald presented a few takeaways from the book to provide a small glimpse into the wealth of advice that can be found once the pages are open.

Galdorisi encouraged authors, especially those aspiring to write a full-length book, to actually start by not writing a book, because that is a huge undertaking.

“We recommend writing short stuff first. Write something for your college newsletter; write something for your professional publications,” Galdorisi said. “Then you’ll get feedback from editors and you’ll hone your writing.”

This tactic mirrors the process Galdorisi started his writing career with—completing about 30 articles for professional journals about the law of the sea before he attempted a book on the subject.

Write about what you know


Because he was passionate about it, which is Galdorisi’s second piece of advice— write about what you know.

McDonald echoed this sentiment.

“If you sit in front of a keyboard and say, ‘I’m going to write the great American novel; I’m going to sell a lot of copies and get rich,’ it could happen, but you’re probably going to be disappointed,” McDonald said. “You have to approach it as something you’re doing because you enjoy it.”

Approaching the writing process as something you enjoy, rather than a purely entrepreneurial exercise will get you farther in the long run, McDonald said.

Oh, and he had one more piece of advice:

“If you want to be a writer and you’re not an avid reader, you’re kidding yourself,” McDonald said.

Learn more about the secret to writing a book by reading Galdorisi and McDonald’s “Braveship Writers Share their Secrets: How to Write Books People Actually Read,” which is available online.

This article was first published in The Coronado News on 30 August 2023 and is republished with the permission of George Galdorisi.

How To Write A Book People Will Read – Listen Now on Admiral’s Almanac


“Few established writers are willing to share the secrets of their craft; and, until now, no group of award-winning writers has done so. Braveship Writers Share Their Secrets breaks new ground and provides an entertaining and extraordinarily useful guide for beginning, emerging, and established writers. Read this book, and then pick up your pen!”

— Admiral James Stavridis, Supreme Allied Commander of NATO and author of a dozen bestsellers, including 2034: A Novel of the Next World War and To Risk It All: Nine Crises and the Crucible of Decision.

“Although much of this invaluable book is focused on writing thrillers, I found lots of useful advice and welcome inspiration in it for all kinds of writing—articles, essays, memoirs, fiction of all stripes. I’ve been toiling in these fields for decades, and I’ve even written a few books on writing myself; but to find a book that’s as straightforward, informative, and just plain conversational as this one is rare. It’s like having a private consultation, over a beer and pretzels, with a group of insiders willing to spill the secrets and answer all the pressing questions about everything from conception to publication, and beyond.” — Robert Masello, bestselling author of The Einstein Prophecy, Robert’s Rules of Writing, The Haunting of H.G.Wells, and many other books

“A comprehensive guide to mastering the art of thriller fiction, delivered with vim and gusto by two of the genre’s finest storytellers!” — Dr. Matt Cook, Los Angeles Times bestselling author of Sabotage and Good Little Marauder



U.S. Navy duo shares secrets to writing a successful book – The Coronado News

George Galdorisi is a well-known author and Coronado resident with 15 published books to his name. Kevin McDonald, hailing from Austin, Texas, and a former naval aviator, has written books centered on aviation and history. The two have combined their wealth of experience to co-author a book about the art of writing.

Despite the differences in their writing journeys, the duo’s history is intertwined. They first met in the Navy in 1985 when Galdorisi was McDonald’s commanding officer at HSL-43. Three decades later, they have come together to pen “Braveship Writers Share their Secrets: How to Write Books People Actually Read.”

Read this The Coronado News Article Here: “U.S. Navy duo shares secrets to writing a successful book by: Sofie Fransen


Book Reviews Galdorisi.pdf

Rick Holden Trilogy: The Coronado Conspiracy, For Duty and Honor
and Fire and Ice

For most of the last century, national security policymakers were
sanguine that the U.S. military had an intact process for envisioning
future warfare. Over the last few decades that process has shown
stress, and now the Pentagon looks outside the lifelines – often to
military fiction – to get a better sense of how wars might evolve and
be fought years hence. This process has been institutionalized as a
number of U.S. military commands and think tanks now sponsor fiction
writing contests to tease out potential future warfighting scenarios.

This has spawned a new genre of military-themed works of fiction.
Labeled FICINT – imagining future warfare scenarios based on the
realities of high-end combat and real-world intelligence, not fantasy
– the U.S. national security community has now embraced this genre
as a useful instrument to intuit how tomorrow’s wars will be fought.
Two well-known books in this genre are P.W. Singer and August Cole’s
Ghost Fleet and Elliot Ackerman and Admiral Jim Stavridis’ 2034
(reviewed in the previous issue of Surface SITREP).

This brings me to a recent entry in the FICINT genre – actually a
trilogy of entries – Captain (USN – retired) George Galdorisi’s Rick
Holden thrillers, The Coronado Conspiracy, For Duty and Honor and
Fire and Ice. Each is a good read by itself, and even better if read
in the order presented here. The chief protagonist, Rick Holden, is a
former CIA operative, now undercover as a U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer.

In all three thrillers, Galdorisi not only provides us with a picture of
future warfare but examines what could go awry with issues like
civilian control of the military, near-absolute power in the hands
of senior military officers, and the ability of rogue nations to hold
allies hostage. I believe you will enjoy this trilogy, and I’m eagerly
looking forward to the next Rick Holden thriller.


Download this Review in PDF Format

Nuclear War?


Eight months into the war in Ukraine, Vladimir Putin is saber-rattling and threatening to use nuclear weapons, the world is under the specter of nuclear war not seen in sixty years since the Cuban Missile Crises. Given Putin’s losses in the Ukraine war, people are justifiably concerned that nuclear weapons will be used and are searching for ways to protect themselves and their loved ones.

While there is no sure way to fully protect oneself and those around you, there is help available. Former Navy SEAL and CIA operative, Dick Couch, has written the definitive book designed to help us cope with the threat of ALL weapons of mass destruction, The U.S. Armed Forces Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Survival Manual: Everything You Need to Know to Protect Yourself and Your Family.

Drawing on best-practices honed by the U.S. military over decades of experience, this book is essential reading in an era where a deranged autocrat, terrorists or others resort to weapons of mass destruction to further their deadly aims. Dick Couch delivers this important survival information in a “news you can use” format. Read it and be reassured that you will be prepared should the worst happen.

When Fiction Foretells the Future of Warfare


by Samantha Bey

Last summer, retired naval aviator Captain George Galdorisi, had just released two anticipated books: AI at War: How Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, and Machine Learning are Changing Naval Warfare (U.S. Naval Institute Press) and Fire and Ice (Braveship Books). Since both books – non-fiction and fiction, respectively – addressed the future of warfare, we decided to circle back a year later to see how the ideas he presented were playing out today.

The bottom line in AI at War, explained Galdorisi, is that “Our national, military and intelligence community efforts are synced up to leverage big data, artificial intelligence and machine learning to make our military weapons systems smarter and more effective and to also help our warfighters make better decisions faster than our adversaries.”


Read the entire article here! (PDF download)

Joseph S. Nye Jr. Review of AI at WAR


National Defense Review of AI at WAR


What One Defense Analyst Says about Fire and Ice

Fire and Ice Cover Concept 01 (2021-03-20)

Many commentators have accused the U.S. military of “preparing for the last war.” While there may be some truth to this criticism, there is a movement afoot to better prepare for the wars of tomorrow.

Throughout the 20th Century, planning for tomorrow’s conflicts occurred almost exclusively within the walls of the Pentagon. With a known adversary – first the Soviet Union and then the threat of worldwide terrorism – this was an acceptable strategy. However, today, with substantially more-nuanced threats to the United States, this is no longer the case.

For years, a number of writers have envisioned future warfare and have expressed those ideas in novels and shorter works. Those U.S. officials responsible for the security and prosperity of America either disregarded these stories or criticized them as unhelpful to crafting a coherent national and military strategy.

This has changed in the 21st Century with a new genre of military-themed works of fiction. Labeled FICINT – generally understood to be imagining future warfare scenarios based on the realities of high-end combat and real-world intelligence, not fantasy – the U.S. national security community has now embraced this new genre as a useful instrument to intuit how tomorrow’s wars will be fought.

As one indication of how FICINT is having an impact, a number of U.S. military commands and think tanks focused on military matters such as The U.S Army Training and Doctrine Command, the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, the U.S. Naval War College, the U.S. Army War College, the Atlantic Council, the Center for International Maritime Security, the U.S. Naval Institute, and others, now sponsor fiction writing contests to tease out good ideas from FICINT writers.

There is a sea change in the way that the U.S. national security community, and especially the U.S. military, are embracing these changes. There have been several recent FICINT novels, Fire and Ice among them, as well as other works – many written by active or retired military officers – that are helping the U.S. plan for tomorrow’s wars, not yesterday’s.

Here is what one defense analyst had to say about Fire and Ice