Featured Author of the Month…Michael Golembesky

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I am honored to introduce to you my featured author of the month, Michael Golembesky,  author of  “Level Zero Heroes”.  Here is my review for “Level Zero Heroes”  if you missed it!

Born in 1976, Michael moved from his home town of Levittown, Pennsylvania to Colorado in 1997 to begin a new life. There he worked as a truck driver for a local dairy before enlisting into the Marine Corps shortly after the events of 9/11 to help support the United States in the global war on terrorism.

Upon graduating MCRD San Diego in 2002, he was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 10th Marines as a field artillery cannoneer, deploying to Okinawa (2003) and Iraq (2005) with Regimental Combat Team 2, where he served as a provisional rifle company squad leader.

Upon returning from Iraq, Sgt. Golembesky made a lateral move in primary MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) to become a Fire Support Man (0861). He served his following two deployments attached to 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines as a forward observer and Fire Support Chief as part of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (2006) and Task Force 2/2 in Iraq (2008).

While on his second deployment in Iraq, SSgt. Golembesky was selected to become an aircraft controller with the newly formed Marine Corps Special Operations Command (MARSOC). He reported to 2nd Marine Special Operations Battalion in January, 2009 and immediately attended the Joint Terminal Attack Controller course in Norfolk, Va. After graduating and obtaining 8002 MOS, he was assigned as a team JTAC with Marine Special Operations Company G, Team 2. His fifth and final deployment was served in Afghanistan (RC-W) with Marine Special Operations Team 8222 from 2009 through 2010 in the Bala Murghab River Valley.

Honorably discharged in Oct. 2010 after eight years of military service, Michael, along with his wife Sabrina and daughter Devlyn, returned home to Colorado where he works as a defense contractor and writer.

Michael’s personal military awards include the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (Valor), two Navy and Marine Corps Combat Action Ribbons and the Afghanistan and Iraq Campaign Medals.

Check out my interview with Michael and if you have not read this book, I highly recommend you do!!

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Sierra:  How did you begin writing “Level Zero Heroes”?  Did you intend to become an author?

Michael:  Becoming an author was probably the furthest thing from my mind. I started writing the book for myself, slowly building upon events from my memoir and emotions. After writing about 30k words I realized that this would make an amazing book.

Sierra:  Considering the contents, where there any occupational hazards to writing this story?

Michael:  No, not really. I wrote the book in my spare time as I juggled family life, being a father and working a fulltime day job.

Sierra:  Who is your intended audience? 

Michael:  Anyone willing to take the time to read it. John Bruning and I wrote the book in a manner that would make it easy for non-military people to understand and enjoy it, because we wanted the message of the story to reach a larger audience than just military veterans.

Sierra:  When working with different chains of command you describe in the book, how did you keep a strong hold on procedures? Especially when certain situations came to light that didn’t exactly sound logical to you.

Michael:  I wrote the book in a way so not to draw any conclusions for the reader. All I could do was tell the story as it happened and let the reader decide what is right and wrong, good or bad.

Sierra:  What was the hardest part in writing this book?  Was it the real life situations you endured and put onto paper or something more?

Michael:  I had most of the material collected before John and I even started writing the book. I guess the hardest part was making sure the book had a solid structure and flow to it. We wanted to keep the reader engaged and make the book hard to put down.

Sierra:  What cultural value do you see in telling this story?

Michael:  I wanted readers to finish ready the book feeling like they were a part of the story, not just looking in on it. Hopefully they walk away with a better understanding of modern warfare and the brutal reality that extreme Muslim ideology poses on the civilized world.

Sierra:  What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?  Did anyone discourage you from writing this story?

Michael:  There were some people within the MARSOC community that didn’t want me to write this book but I told them the same thing I told everyone else that had an issue with it; I am not writing this book for them, I am writing for my fellow team members and they are the only ones I answer too.

Sierra:  Tell us a little about your cover art.  Who designed it and why did you choose that particular image?  Was the image a photo that you collected from your service?

Michael:  Lisa Pompilio at St. Martin’s Press can up with the final design, but it had been a work in progress for a year or so. I intentionally placed the original photo used on the cover inside of the book because I wanted readers to know that it is ‘real’, the look on Mark’s face is what war is and feels like.

Sierra:  What inspires you as an author and a person?

Michael:  Freedom and choice to aspire to be who you want to be, regardless of the events in your past. The future is as bright as you make it.

Sierra:  If you could go back and do it all over again, is there any aspect of your first book or getting it published that you would change?

 Michael:  Nothing. It was a lot of hard work and long hours but in the end, holding the book in my hands made it all worthwhile.

Sierra:  What can we expect from you in the future that pertains to writing?

Michael:  The future is wide open, but like I said, I never intend on become a writer. Maybe if people are really interested, perhaps there could be a follow-up to Level Zero Heroes that covers the rest of the deployment. We will see.

Sierra:  Having seen your film, “Infil Exfil” which brings to light the mental struggle that goes on within all combat veterans, did this inspire you to write the book about your experiences in Bala Murghab?

 Michael:  I wouldn’t say directly but many of us veteran struggle with the same challenges after leaving a war zone. Hopefully this story and my success outside of the military helps to offer hope to someone who may be struggling with the change.

Sierra:  After watching “Infil Exfil”, I have followed along with you via Facebook awaiting the release of your book.  I am a dog lover and loved learning about your dog “Bear”.  You write about him in the story of how you came to find him, or how he came to find you.  In the book, you don’t exactly say how you brought “Bear” back to the states.  From following your page, I learned about Nowzad, the non-profit organization who help soldiers get pets they have rescued while serving, back to the United States.  Would you like to shed some light on the process you went through to get “Bear” to Colorado with you and your family?

Michael:  It was a long process and took the help of many people. The first hurdle was raising about 3k to cover the travel and sheltering expenses for Bear’s trip to the states. I hitched a ride on an Italian helicopter to get him to Herat City where he was handed off to a local national that Nowzad had coordinated with. From there he traveled to Kabul, Flew to a shelter in Pakistan, where he stayed for about a month before making the long flight to New York. It took a lot of coordination and faith with Nowzad and other forgiven agencies to get him home, but well worth it.

Sierra:  Michael, I cannot express how thankful I am for you to take the time to answer some of my questions.  Not only that, I am honored to have gotten to read your book.  Words cannot explain how a person feels after reading about such experiences and realizing exactly what it is that you men do for our freedom here in the United States.  Is there anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?

Michael:  We are thankful for all of our veterans, but it is the combat veterans that have endured the weight of war. The next time you meet a combat vet from Iraq or Afghanistan, shake their hand and offer to buy them a beer. -Ski

Level Zero Heroes_cover approved

Level Zero Heroes by Michael Golembesky

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

 

I would first like to thank the author, Michael Golembesky for sharing his story with me.   Honestly, you cannot put a rating on this book.  No rating could ever be enough for what these men in this story and all around the world do for our freedom every single day.  Because of them, we can go out at midnight and do cartwheels in the yard if we want.   A useless example, but once you read “Level Zero Heroes”, you will want to spend your time doing much, much greater things with your life!

“Level Zero Heroes” is the first book written about the U.S. Marines Special Operations since it was created in 2006.  This book is written from the context of first account views from Team 8222 (MSOT), a 22-member squad of Marines serving in a village called Bala Murghab, Afganistan, an isolated Taliban stronghold.

I have always been passionate about freedom, in the fact that freedom is never free.  What you will find in this book will open you up raw as Michael takes an extremely complex situation and compresses it so any reader can easily understand the circumstances that the author and his team endured while in Bala Murghab, Afghanistan.   I have never read a book quite like this one.  The interest came after watching Michael’s film “Infil Exfil”, which brings to light the mental struggle that goes on within all combat veterans.  I knew I had to read this book.

“Level Zero Heroes” brings to light the seven months that Golemesky and his men fought, side by side, going from one extremity to the next.  I’m not sure I didn’t feel a day went by that there wasn’t at least one fire fight while they were stationed there.  These men survived through a couple freak accidents, sniper ambush missions in sub-zero temperatures and trials where you couldn’t see the line between who was a friend or who was a foe.   I kept saying to myself while reading, “this is about to get sketchy!”, not just from the way Michael writes, but I literally felt it in my gut like I was there with them!

So much is bundled into this book that I feel like I will be reading it more than once.  There were some parts I read so fast because I was terrified for the men being written about, I might have missed something!  I was reading this book in the evenings before I would go to bed, which was a mistake because I would be awaking thinking about everything I had just ‘witnessed’.

This is so much more than just a deployment to Afghanistan, so much more a person needs to realize about our country.  Follow the accounts of valor and brotherhood, let this book open your eyes a little wider and understand the passion driven men and women who fight for your country in the past, present and those who will serve in the future!   I feel as though this book will be winning some awards,  a highly recommended read.   Once again, thank you to all the men and women who serve to grant us freedom in the United States of America!

 

To learn more about the author, keep an eye out for my interview with him.  Find out more about “Level Zero Heroes” on the website below!

http://www.levelzeroheroes.com/

Deadly Circles – A CJ Hand Novel by C. G. Haberman

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

I enjoyed this book by C. G. Haberman better than the last one I reviewed.  With a story once again set in Nebraska, CJ Hand, a criminal investigator is getting a run for his money.   This story had a great plot and the characters were well thought out.  You could probably use his descriptions as a map to find the places he writes about in this book.  This story is a fast paced read about murder, political power and exposing the criminal activity and who it ties to.  I recommend this book to anyone who likes crime/mystery with a little Nebraska dirt on top!

 

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C. G. Haberman was born and raised in south-central Nebraska. For ten years he taught the biological sciences in two Nebraska high schools. He left education to take a position with the Nebraska environmental agency and over the next ten years moved through the ranks. His positions took him throughout Nebraska while working on surface and groundwater quality issues, wetlands, and a uranium mining proposal. After Nebraska, C. G. worked in Washington and South Dakota, expanding his environmental work into the areas of enforcement, air quality and hazardous and solid waste. Before retiring he returned to teach for ten more years as a community college instructor and as an adjunct at a liberal arts college in Hastings, Nebraska. Using his education and experience, he involved students by presenting real-life issues through Problem-Based Learning and hands-on field experiences.

 

The Naturalists – A Historical Novel of the Hayman Family by C. G. Haberman

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Job 12:7-8 – But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you.

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

The only reason I gave this book 4 out 5 stars was because it was a little slow reading for me.  The story was wonderfully told, just wasn’t to exciting for me.  This is the first I have read of C. G. Haberman and I really enjoyed that this book was about the Nebraska lands and it’s settlers.  The story beings in the 1820’s where the Hayman family is just settling in a place called the Rainwater Basin.  You follow the characters through their hardships and failures as well as their triumphs.   As the title of the book informs you, this is a historical novel and is filled with such a story.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves the history of the past times and people along with the places they have been, seen and lived.

 

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C. G. Haberman was born and raised in south-central Nebraska. For ten years he taught the biological sciences in two Nebraska high schools. He left education to take a position with the Nebraska environmental agency and over the next ten years moved through the ranks. His positions took him throughout Nebraska while working on surface and groundwater quality issues, wetlands, and a uranium mining proposal. After Nebraska, C. G. worked in Washington and South Dakota, expanding his environmental work into the areas of enforcement, air quality and hazardous and solid waste. Before retiring he returned to teach for ten more years as a community college instructor and as an adjunct at a liberal arts college in Hastings, Nebraska. Using his education and experience, he involved students by presenting real-life issues through Problem-Based Learning and hands-on field experiences.

*Giveaway* Z Plan (Blood on the Sand) & Z Plan (Red Tides) by Mikhail Lerma

*Giveaway* (these authors are just too good to us!)

Head over to my Facebook Fan Page and find the giveaway post in the news feed:

https://www.facebook.com/simpletasteforreading

To enter, like and share the post and tag a friend who might enjoy this giveaway for an extra entry!

Z Plan (Red Tides) by Mikhail Lerma

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

The story picks up right where it left us in “Z Plan (Blood on the Sand)“.  Cale is still battling in the world full of a new deadly or “undead” disease.  When the last book ended, Cale had boarded a boat and set out to sea and is seriously about ready to lose his mind from everything that is happening until he hears someone on the boats radio.

Cale is hopeful that he is being rescued but it turns out he might have been better off on his own.  He will do anything to make his way home, even if that includes being a supply runner for his ‘rescuers’.  Cale is smart and escapes while out on a scavenge along with another ‘rescued’ person.

How strong does a person have to be to face an apocalyptic world?  You will brave through Cale’s trials right along side him in this second installment to the Z Plan Series.

Z Plan (Red Tides) is just a great as the first, if not better!  Mikhail’s way of writing throws you into a world that you cannot escape, unless you close the book, which you won’t be able to until you are hanging on the last word!  Bravo on your release of  Z Plan, Red Tides!

Want to learn more about the author?  Click Here to read my interview with Mr. Lerma!