Thursday, October 25, 2012

Deadly Additive

Well, here's another author I've never hosted, but this latest release caught my eye, and with his background I couldn't resist checking it out. Obviously I loved it, or I wouldn't be telling you about it!

Welcome, Mr. Taylor, You've led quite an eventful life. How many years did you serve in the military? I served twenty years on active duty with the U.S. Army out of twenty-three years total. That began only half voluntarily. The draft at that time gave me a choice of twelve months “voluntary” active service with a reserve obligation or twenty-one months involuntary service. I chose the one year plus reserve. By the end of that year it was obvious that the Cold War would become hot fairly soon, so I used senior ROTC as my reserve requirement and, sure enough, the Korean War came along. It was also obvious that national defense would be an essential mission long after the Korean truce, so I changed to a voluntary category and stayed on. Well, I'll start off with, thank you for serving!

So what led you to teaching?  My father was an American literature professor and scholar, my mother a college librarian. When I was in grammar school, my father read my brother and me large chunks of Mark Twain—Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, of course, but also Life on the MississippiThe Prince and the Pauper, Connecticut Yankee, and much more. It was also assumed in our home that literature, philosophy, and theology were important. So it was natural for me to major in English in college and to become interested in writing—some very bad short stories and some not-too-bad poetry, some of which I’ve been able to resurrect and revise. As I said, the draft flushed me out of college and the Cold War needed attention. But with that background, it was fairly reasonable after retirement to go through postgraduate schooling and teach in liberal arts colleges as a second career. So you might say it was in your blood (or breeding).

Well, to me, writing and being an English teacher kind of go hand in hand. So did you always want to be a writer? Since my second year in college it  was always around in the back of my head.  While teaching, I wrote professional papers, one of which has been reprinted in an anthology of Shakespeare criticism. During much of my time as a professor there was strong anti-American and anti-military propaganda on campuses, so I wrote a number of op-ed pieces on foreign policy and some on misuse of class time for indoctrination rather than education. Given all of that, I didn’t have much time to think about creative writing. Through two careers there was always something more important to do—the military at first and then, along with succeeding as a professor, providing for four children through college. Only after the second retirement did I have time to concentrate on it. As they say, you can retire but you can’t quit.

Sounds like you have vast stores of experience to draw from for your stories so I'm sure there are always characters running around in your head. Or do you keep better control of them than some of us undisciplined types? Gosh, I wish my mind was disciplined. The minute I think of a character or an idea, imagination tries to run away with it. If I turn it loose, it covers a lot of ground and I can never remember half of it. So I try for what you might call a half-discipline: I talk the idea into a pocket voice recorder and later transcribe the gist of it onto a 3 X 5 index card. I have dozens of them cluttering up my desk all the time. Some of them I can actually use, maybe ten percent. I keep a file with a page or so of any given idea so I don't lose it. That way I hope they won't hound me! I hate manually writing anything down so at least I don't have to deal with the loose pages!

So what are you working on now? I’m working on sequels to Rhapsody in Red, a historical set just after WW II (heaven knows we have enough WW II novels!), and research for a possible sequel to Deadly Additive. That ought to keep me out of trouble for a while.

Well, good luck with those! We'll look forward to hearing more from you in the future, but for now let's take a peek at Deadly Additive.


To soldier-of-fortune Jeb Sledge, the assignment seemed simple: Rescue an heiress and her journalist friend from Colombian guerrillas and collect a sizable paycheck for his troubles. But things rarely go as planned.

After stumbling upon a mass of dead bodies, Kristin Halvorsen isn't about to leave Colombia without the proof she needs for the story of a lifetime, and Sledge soon finds himself ensnared in a chemical weapons conspiracy that involves civilians, guerillas and high-ranking government officials.

But neutralizing the factory isn’t enough. Where are the weapons that have already been fabricated? Who are the intended targets? How potent and far-reaching are the effects?

A pursuit through South America, the U.S. and the Caribbean embroils Sledge and Kristin in a mission to prevent a catastrophic attack—and leaves Sledge fighting to save both their lives.


Houston, Texas 
By habit, Jeb Sledge disapproved of people who pointed weapons at him. The present offender’s tuxedo did not qualify him for an exception, and the silencer on his pistol only aggravated the offense.

They stood in the living room of Sledge’s drab one-bedroom apartment toward the northern edge of Houston. That morning his doctor had pronounced him fully recovered from last year’s wounds by an assassin. In the afternoon he’d refused an offer of two hundred thousand dollars to rescue the daughter of billionaire Steve Spinner from her Colombian kidnappers.

Sledge needed money. But Spinner had a reputation for ruthlessness hidden under a veneer of philanthropy. And the setup made no sense at all. When Spinner’s envoy grew insistent, Sledge threw him out.

Later that day, he’d gotten a call from Roger Brinkman, the retired CIA officer who now ran an “information service” known among experts as the best source for data on international crime. Brinkman didn’t say how he heard about Spinner’s offer, but he chided Sledge for turning it down. Vague rumblings of something new among the Columbian guerrillas, Brinkman suggested, and the Skinner problem might make a good takeoff point for the right operative.

Sledge said he’d think about it.

He did—for thirty seconds over dinner at a good Italian restaurant with reasonable prices and servers who didn’t introduce themselves. The dinner celebrated his advent as “New Sledge.” The old one was a hard case with a bad habit—volunteering for dangerous jobs to support noble causes. The cantankerous Old Sledge also enjoyed throwing his weight around, all two hundred and fifty pounds of it. But that Sledge had not survived the assassin’s bullets. The new one who’d sprung from his ashes would be too smart to take risks where there was no tangible reward. He would live the quiet life—find a safe administrative job on the periphery of law enforcement. And avoid noble causes.

Savoring the thought, Sledge drank a toast to his new self.

I refuse to give up any more. LOL Suffice it to say, Sledge does not get his wish to "live the quiet life".

After just a short while of traveling with Sledge, you can see beyond the tough guy exterior. And although he strives to be on the side of good, something is always missing from making the mission complete, and it takes a missionary to bring it to light for Sledge. I love the enlightening speech and matter of fact way the truth is told. And Sledge, in his thick headed stubbornness continues to try to do things on his own.

This is a great adventure story, with added depth. Definitely keeps the pages turning. I loved it!

About the author:

Donn Taylor led an Infantry rifle platoon in the Korean War, served with Army aviation in Vietnam, and worked with air reconnaissance in Europe and Asia. Afterwards, he completed a PhD degree at The University of Texas and taught English literature at two liberal arts colleges.

He and his wife live near Houston, Texas, where he writes fiction, poetry, and articles on current topics.

For more about Donn Taylor go to:


  1. Nice interview. Sounds like great book too!

    Best wishes~

  2. You definitely have the personal experience to make that story pop! Congrats on your novel!

  3. Thank you, JoAnn. Hope you enjoy it. It also has a heroine.

    1. LOL But Sledge is such a great character I forgot to mention her!

  4. Sounds like an interesting and authentic book.

    1. It's wonderful knowing someone writes from experience....

  5. Great interview and review. I can "see" the story as a movie, with a bigger than life hero and the woman who touches his gentle side.

    1. LOL She's as much a part of the action as he is. They're really great together!