Thursday, May 29, 2014

Son of a Itch VBT

On the lam from the FBI, the ICE PHANTOM continues with plans to defect to Moscow but not before seeking revenge on J.J. McCall. Meanwhile, the FBI commences Task Force PHANTOM HUNTER, a team ordered by Director Russell Freeman to track down suspected Russian illegals within the U.S. Intelligence Community—and not a moment too soon. An agent of the Russian Intelligence Services is targeting the nerve center of U.S. national security, taking the lie-detecting FBI Agent and her cohorts’ next mole hunt to the highest echelons of the U.S. government.

J.J. and her co-case agent lead the motley crew of spy catchers while she struggles to deal with sobriety, conflicting feelings for Tony and Six, and an egotistical Secret Service agent whose jurisdictional stonewalling complicates her every effort to identify the culprit before he gets away—with murder.

“Well, we’ve been downgraded from a task force to an analytical working group,” J.J. said. “We get no investigative resources. No Gs. Any cases referred for preliminary inquiries must be vetted through AD Nixon, who will probably send them to WFO for action. Put in layman’s terms—we’re no longer the hammer, we are the nail. Quite frankly, I wouldn’t blame any of you if you wanted to bail.” 

“How long this will last?” Gia asked. 

J.J. responded with a shrug. “The Russian National Security Council Director is supposed to visit next week and the President’s trying to smooth relations. Once he’s gone, we may get some breathing room. Until then, nothing.” 

“I’m still in, but what do we do now?” Gia asked. 

J.J. opened her mouth to answer when the song “Gettin’ Jiggy With It” blasted from her cell phone. She recognized ringtone given she’d heard it a thousand times over the past week. It was her favorite G. “Uhhh...if you'll please give me a minute. I should probably take this.” 

J.J. answered the phone as she stepped outside the conference room and closed the door behind her. “Hey, Jiggy. I'm in the middle of a meeting.” 

“You and Tony need to get down the Ellipse right now. It's urgent.” 

“The Ellipse? That’s Secret Service territory. What interests could the Bureau have there?”

“With all the shit hitting the fan right now,” Jiggy said, “you may not want to know.”

“Then why’d you call?” J.J. replied. 

“Because I have a sneaking suspicion the Russians have somehow gained access to a U.S. government agency communications network in this area…and judging by the close proximity to the White House…I think it’s in the White House.” 

J.J. released a heavy sigh and shook her head. “You’re right. I didn’t want to know.”

S.D., thanks so much for stopping by. So, why don’t you tell us a little about yourself?
On the professional side, I’m a former Intelligence Operations Specialist/Analyst in the FBI's counterintelligence program. I worked at the Bureau for 12 years and got to work in many incredible programs. My first stop was in a unit that supervised investigations involving the truck hijackings conducted by Organized Crime or La Cosa Nostra. Then I moved into art theft. From there I leapt into counterintelligence where I worked 10 of my 12 years, 8 of those years in Russian Counterintelligence. I left the Bureau and went to the DIA where I worked on the Joint Staff/J2 for nearly 5 years. As a contractor, I’d hold positions in U.S. Coast Guard Intelligence and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence before leaving the government world. So, I’ve really combined all of my experience in all of these agencies to create the stories in this series. 

On the personal side, I’m a native Washingtonian (D.C.) and professed nerd-girl who loves all things Star Trek, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and Big Bang Theory. I think I’ve been in denial for years, thinking I was cool. But really, playing the tuba in the high school band should’ve been a dead giveaway. 

How did you get started writing?
I’m a late bloomer when it comes to writing novels I started out writing journals throughout my life, from the time I was 7 or 8. My mom got me started reading and writing from a very young age. She said I was snatching books out of her hand and reading them on my own by the age of 3. I had always had a deep desire to write a book but I didn’t give myself enough credit to believe I could do it. So, I was nearly 40 years old when I gave novel writing a try and I haven’t looked back since. The bug bit and it bit HARD…like pit bull it locked its jaws on me and hasn’t released me from its grip. I don’t think it ever will. 

What was the inspiration for your book?
The biggest source of inspiration for this story is actually a real case. Back in 1999, the FBI’s Surveillance Group (what we called “the Gs” at the time), caught an intelligence monitoring a listening that was implanted in the State Department just doors down from the Secretary’s office. It was splashed all over the news at the time and of course the FBI had to investigate. It was widely reported that the Russians didn’t get much of anything critical from the operation for various reasons. But I thought it would be really cool to use that as the germ of a story and then take it up a notch by asking…what if? 

What if, that operation was only practice for a bigger and ultimately much more successful operation? What if that was the reason it was no big deal. So that’s what we’re faced with when the story opens. J.J. and the crew are faced with potentially one of the biggest breaches in U.S. history and they have to find out whodunit. 

What’s the one genre you haven’t written in yet that you’d like to?
I started out writing romantic comedy and was a total chicken when it came to writing spy thrillers, not only because of my background, but because I didn’t know if I had the chops to pull it off. So, this series is me writing the genre I really wanted to write. And then too, it is really an amalgamation of several genres so I squeezed no fewer than 4 genres into this one book, but, at least for me, it feels like a good gumbo, it works. 
Are there any genres you won’t read or write in? Why?
I would never say never, but it is unlikely that I will ever be a Stephen King or a J.K. Rowling. I don’t like scary stuff…and I don’t have the big imagination required for world-building in Fantasy or Sci-Fi for that matter. All of my stories are largely grounded in reality and that’s a comfort zone for me.
So, what are you working on right now? Got any releases planned, or still writing?
My first job is to finish up the last three books in the J.J. McCall Series. Book 3 is A No Good Itch and is due out later this year. Book 4 is That Crazy Itch; and Book 5 is “Life’s an Itch”—both are due out in 2015 if I have my way…but since I can’t write full time I don’t often get my way. Life usually gets in the way. But I’ll get as close as possible to wrapping it up by late next year. 
Alright, now for some totally random, fun questions. Favorite color?
Black…it’s a pigment not a color, but if you see me and I’m not wearing black then it’s probably an evil twin and not me. 
Favorite movie?
This is a tough question. It’s like asking me to name my favorite book. In the spy realm, it’s probably going to be No Way Out with Kevin Costner. 

Book that inspired you to become an author?
Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen, Waiting to Exhale by Terry McMillan, and Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding. (Keeping in mind my first stop was romantic comedy). 

Alright, you have one superpower. What is it? This is so easy. Lie detecting…like the main character J.J. McCall. As a matter of fact, my son would tell you that I already have this superpower because he’s always getting busted over something. 

You can have dinner with any 3 people, dead, alive, fictitious, etc. Who are they?
I’d love to meet Stephen King and talk writing. I’ve seen a few of his speeches on YouTube and he’s really a shoot straight from the hip kind of guy. Now, I probably read “On Writing” by Stephen King about once a year, but I’d love to hear new anecdotes. From a religious standpoint, I’d want to meet with Jesus. And from a business standpoint, I’d love to meet with Oprah and just pick her brain and listen to how she overcame challenges in her life. That would be a fantastic trio—my art, my spirit, my business. 

Last question: Which of your characters are you most like and how/why?
In the J.J. McCall series, the answer would definitely have to be a mix between the intelligence analyst Sunnie and J.J. Actually, what Sunnie does in the book actually was my job in real life. I wasn’t the agent, so I really relate to that work and support she gives J.J. They are both workaholics, fiercely patriotic, loyal to a fault, and pretty smart cookies. I’m a little bit of all those things, I think.

Author Bio and Links:
S.D. Skye is a former FBI Russian Counterintelligence Program Intelligence Analyst and supported two major programs during her 12-year tenure at the Bureau. She has personally witnessed the blowback the Intelligence Community suffered due to the most significant compromises in U.S. history, including the arrests of former CIA Case Officer Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen. She spent 20+ years supporting military and intelligence missions in the U.S. Intelligence Community.

Skye, an award winning author, is a member of the Maryland Writer’s Association, Romance Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. She’s addicted to writing and chocolate—not necessarily in that order—and currently lives in the Washington D.C. area with her son. Skye is hard at work on several projects, including the next installment of this exciting series.

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Buy Links:
S.D. Skye Novels on Amazon – Kindle and Paperback 
S.D. Skye Novels on Kindle – Worldwide Links


  1. Thank you so much for hosting!! It's almost time for the drawing so make sure you enter to win. I'll be around throughout the day to answer questions if you have any! :)

  2. I have enjoyed the tour. The book sounds very intriguing, I can't wait to read it and have added it to my read list.