The tickle of curiosity. The gasp of discovery. Fingers running across the keyboard.

The tickle of curiosity. The gasp of discovery. Fingers running across a keyboard

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Showing posts with label Marines. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Marines. Show all posts

Monday, May 8, 2017

How Fast is FAST?



Wikipedia
Most of us have read about our military elite operators: the SEALs who are connected with the United States navy, the Delta Force and Green Berets who are with our army. But few people have heard about our Marine special units. 

We talked about one of them the Marine Raiders HERE, but there's another Marine unit called FAST. Marine Fleet-Anti-terrorism Security Team.

I featured a Marine with the Marine Raiders in WASP, the first book in the Uncommon Enemies series, and in the second book, RELIC, Brian Ackerman, our hero, is retired from a FAST unit.

FAST units are deployed all over the world. You might be most familiar with them as the team that responded to the Benghazi attack from their base in Spain.

If there is a terrorist attack anywhere in the world that involves US forces, these guys are ready to be deployed. They have received special training to handle terrorists.


"They are highly skilled in counter surveillance, physical security, urban combat techniques, close quarter combat, and martial arts... Companies contain six platoons of fifty Marines. On deployment, FAST can be stationed in Spain, Japan, and Bahrain." (1)

Right now we have three FAST companies in the US as well as a training company. Companies A and C are located in Norfolk, Virginia, and Company B, which is located at Yorktown, Virginia. These companies operate under the control of the Marine Corps Security Force Regiment located on Naval Air Station, Norfolk, Virginia.

The Security Force Regiment Training Company is located on Naval Support Activity Hampton Roads, in Chesapeake, Virginia. (2)

Can I just say all four units are about two hours from my house where there is also a SEAL team - so in the event of a zombie apocalypse, or any other disaster - I know where I'm headed. 


Marines assigned to FAST have:

  • SOI (School of Infantry).
  • Security Force School - (NSA Northwest, Chesapeake, VA) - Teaches Combat Marksmanship (shotgun and pistol), Close Quarter Battle
  • FAST Training (5 weeks)-(NSA Northwest, Chesapeake, VA) Additional training in Advanced Urban Combat. (2)
Elite US Marines, ready, willing, and more than able!





In RELIC, Retired Marine FAST member is now working for Iniquus where his work as one of the nation’s top security professionals has fueled his lust for adrenaline-laced danger. While Brian’s private life may seem risky, his professional life is strictly business. Until he accepts two private protection contracts that is. 
Available on most e-readers
Two security assignments seem simple enough. Brian’s been wrong before.

The first assignment involves protecting archaeologists, Sophia Abadi and Nadia Dajani. While digging to uncover a remote site is a bit mundane by Brian’s standard, he welcomes the chance and the challenge.

The second assignment requires Brian to do his own digging to uncover the truth. The thrill seeker is contracted by the FBI to discover who is financing ISIS through the sale of conflict relics from Syria. Problem is, his suspects are also the two archaeologists.

His initial introductions to both esteemed scientists not only reveal the challenges of protecting them, but a shocking dilemma of honoring his security contract. Seems the woman he’d fallen for after one incredible night in New York is the very same Sophia he’s now charged with protecting and leading into an FBI trap.

Meet Brian Ackerman. He has a gun. He also has a heart.

I hope you enjoy reading RELIC, I look forward to hearing what you think!

Cheers,
Fiona



Information for his article comes from:
  • http://www.military.com/special-operations/marine-fleet-antiterrorism-security-team.html (1)
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marine_Corps_Security_Force_Regiment (2)

Sunday, April 9, 2017

What in the World is a Marine Raider?

Marine Raider. 
For other Marine Raider images go HERE

No? Never heard the term? 

I recently received a lovely note from a Marine after I sent out a newsletter that mentioned that my new novel WASP had a hero named Gage Harrison who was a Marine Raider out of Lejeune. "Uh oh," he said, "Marine Raiders haven’t been around since mid-twentieth century." 

And you know what? He was right! Sort of.

You see, the Marine Raiders were developed as an elite unit back in WWII. The Marines didn’t very much like the idea of an “elite” unit and the effort was ended in 1944 when they were considered "no longer necessary." And then, yup, America decided they were pretty darned necessary. 

In 2014, they were back but this time they worked under the name MARSOC – Marine Special Operations Regiment and later reclaimed their original name Marine Raider – like Gage, my wonderful character.

AMAZON LINK

You all know about Army Rangers and SEALs. You know of the difficult selection process and the rigorous super-human training that they go through. And this is the same for the Marines. The Marines were faced with establishing their own brand of super-hero. They began by building on what they knew from the other branches, but as the Marine Raiders' role clarified, so did the selection and vetting process as well as the training.

“Raiders' capabilities are a unique blend with more emphasis on amphibious operations than, say, Army Rangers, but less than SEALS. And they offer something else, that aggressive can-do Marine ethos.” (NPR, 2016)

One of the reasons that Marine Raiders are not well known is that they keep a low profile. There are some Raider units that are not even discussed officially. This anonymity is part of their mystique and perhaps partly because they are a small group of operators. 

According to a Marine, Price, interviewed by NPR at Lejeune, 
“…the Raiders say their size is also a strength because it means a tighter team. They have only about 3,000 Marines. That's little more than a tenth of the number of troops in Army special operations and less than a third as many as Navy special ops. Arkin [Military analyst William Arkin] says a big question is whether their identity will be distinctive. He thinks they should lean heavily on the traditional Marine expertise in brief, hard-hitting missions and coastal fighting.”

In WASP, Gage’s skills are put to the test – good to know he had the background and the intensive training so he knew how to get the job done.




WASP: Available on most platforms

Zoe Kealoha is a military research scientist. Her work with microrobotics is meant to save lives. But she’d kept her work a secret to protect her from just this kind of scenario. As footfalls outside her bedroom door stalked closer, Zoe knew her quiet world was about to be upended.

​Unlike Zoe’s orderly world of hypothesis and laboratory controls, Gage Harrison loved the rush he got from his high-risk job as an elite warrior with the Marine Raiders. He was a Marine in every sense of the word. His soft spot was Zoe.

​When Gage hears Zoe’s screams from inside her home, his instincts and training switch from lover to guardian. He’ll stop at nothing to protect her from those plotting her abduction. Gage and his team are willing to risk everything to guard Zoe and her top secret military research. Zoe and Gage work together to untangle the sticky web of intrigue that traps politicians, schemers, spies, and lovers and those willing to put money over loyalty.


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I hope you enjoy my book - it's getting stellar reviews. I'd love to hear what you think!

~ Fiona


This article is based on an NPR article found HERE 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Security Contractors Working in a Hot Zone: Information for Writers w/ Shawn Rafferty



Shawn Rafferty
Welcome to ThrillWriting, Shawn. Can you tell our readers a little bit about your background?

Shawn - 

Hello, my name is Shawn Rafferty. I have been working in the military, law enforcement and security sector for 20 years. I served in the Marine Corps Infantry, was a corrections officer, police officer, force protection officer in Kuwait before the 2003 invasion, worked as a Security Consultant (trained Iraqi Ministry of Oil personnel) and Security Coordinator (assisted in managing guard force force for company building oil sector in Iraq, KBR) in Iraq and a Protective Security Specialist (Blackwater and Triple Canopy) responsible for protecting
US Diplomats in Iraq, mainly the US Ambassador.

Fiona - 
What role did you play as a security contractor?

Shawn
I started working for Blackwater in late 2004 after I left KBR and got a job in Afghanistan as a protective security specialist;
 this time protecting business personnel. I left BW in 2007 for the birth of my son and to start a business. I opened a martial arts school and taught Commando Krav Maga.  I went back to Iraq working for Blackwater (BW) again. By this time it was 2009. BW changed names to Xe and shortly after lost the contract. I then worked for a company called Triple Canopy doing the same work, protecting US Diplomats. I left Iraq in 2010 and became a firearms instructor training Department of State Diplomatic Security Agents.

I only did this for 3 months then I got a job working for the Department of Commerce as a Special Agent working on the Secretary of Commerce's protection detail. I did that for 3 1/2 years and recently quit to be a stay-at-home dad and build my business teaching self-protection.

Fiona - 
What form of MA do you teach - mixed/self protection?

Shawn -
I taught a system called Commando Krav Maga. But I have a second degree blackbelt in Shorin Ryu Karate, and I have been doing Muay Thai and boxing for years.

Fiona -
So your were a marine and you worked mercenary jobs.

Shawn -
Well they weren't mercenary jobs because we were indirectly and directly working for the US government. 

Fiona - 
You don't call yourselves mercenaries; what do you say instead?

Shawn - 
Security Contractors working for Private Military Companies (PMC). Although I did work with some real mercenaries that were operating in Africa. Another story...

Fiona - 
Thank you for correcting my vocabulary. A mercenary is a professional soldier hired to serve a foreign army, according to Google. Can you tell me some of the things that are parallel and some of the things that are different about the two environments?

Shawn - 
As a Marine you train to fight in combat and do combat operations. The parallel between the two would be that a security contractor that provides protection has a responsibility to run from trouble but if forced to fight, it must be with the same ferocity as a Marine or soldier. Providing protection or working as a security contractor in a war zone is very challenging. You are a target just like the military but often on your own with minimal support.

Fiona - 
Were your contracting jobs structured like the military with chains of command?

Shawn - 
Yes, pretty much. Not the same titles but you had a rank structure. Plus, it fit with what the guys were accustomed to. To go back to the environment and the differences; As an example when I first went into Iraq. The very next day we had to drive to the border of Jordan. All we had in the form of communication was a satellite phone (Sat Phone) and a drop dead time to return. No communication with military units or any support. Just us with unarmed vehicles, no body armor, and just Ak 47's with a few mags.



English: Cambodian AK-47
 AK-47 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So our Kurdish interpreter took us to this arms market in the Iraqi city of Kirkuk. It was just a regular market where people were buying food and other household items. The interpreter went up to some guy and whispered in his ear. The next thing I knew, all these guys started coming out of the woodwork. You remember those shows in the 70's where the guy would walk up and say, "You wanna by a watch?" and he would open his coat and would have dozens of watches hanging? That was what it was like but with guns or holsters, etc. 

I remember I needed some ammo for my 9mm. So this guy brought me a box and a lot of the ammo was rusted or corroded. My dad was doing the same thing but not next to me. He questioned the seller as to whether or not the ammo was good. The Iraqi grabbed the gun, loaded, and shot off a few rounds in the air like nothing special. Mind you, it was a very busy market. I almost hit the deck when the gunshot went off but didn't. We bought a few pistols and some ammo and left.

Fiona - 
Yipes!

You said you were given a drop dead time?

Shawn - 
Drop Dead Time - Basically when we reached a certain time we had to return. This way if we were unable to communicate with the HQ, we would automatically return. The HQ didn't answer our call anyway. The company I worked for didn't have a lot of equipment. We had to buy some of our weapons on the black-market. I had to purchase my own pistol, for example. 

When I worked for Blackwater we had a lot more assets
Blackwayer and Triple Canopy had State Department contracts that had to meet pretty stringent guidelines to operate. We had to have armored vehicles, body armor, a certain amount of people to go out on missions, etc. The first company was rather loose. I would often drive out into town by myself.

My first mission with BW was protecting Kurdish Judges and lawyers and escorting them and DOJ agents around Norther Iraq interviewing Kurds victimized by Sadams war crimes. I actually got to go to his trial for 1 day.

Fiona - 

Wow. What an experience. 

I like that the contracts protected you a bit more with Blackwater.

Shawn - 
Yes, I felt a lot more secure, and the people I worked with all had the same training, so I knew what to expect as far as tactics and actions if attacked.

Fiona - 
So all of your fellow operators were military background. Any females?

Shawn - 
Most had military backgrounds. SEALS, Marines, Army Rangers, Special Forces, DEVGRU, and plain Cops. We had a few females towards the end. Only 1 or 2 where on protection teams. A few others were in support roles. One was a K9 handler.

Fiona - 
What are DEVGRU?

Shawn - 
DEVGRU - Development Group is the new name for SEAL Team 6. Mind you, I came across very few of these guys. Most would work much higher contracts because of their prior training and experience etc.

The background of the fellow operators was broad. We all had training and Secret Clearances. Not like the image of a bunch of blood thirsty cowboys running around.

Fiona - 
Are the terms like FUBAR the same across military branches and contractors - do you all speak the same lingo? 
(FUBAR -f*cked up beyond all reason/recognition)

Shawn - 
Yes FUBAR is. We didn't use it much but would just say F*cked Up instead. Excuse the language.

Fiona - 
You're fine - but in general the lingo was the same all of the little alphabet soup of communications? I'm wondering because you mixed a bunch of guys up, and their training was their training - would it all work out if lives were on the line?

Shawn - 
Training is training. Most if not all the teams spent a lot of time in between missions training. If there ever was an incident most of the time everyone acted the way they were trained, because they all knew what each other were doing. Those guys with combat prior experience would act better, because they knew what to expect.

Fiona - 
Tell me about that combat prior v. just combat trained - how would the men act/react. Did it worry you to go on missions with the inexperienced men?

Shawn -
Getting shot at is not fun. 
You never know how someone will react under fire. Hopefully with training, they will react like they should. But the guys that were combat tested where definitely a good thing to have around. It is also about having guts and the will to live and win. Guys with that mentality and no combat experiences can pull it together and do the job.

I wouldn't want to go out on missions with someone I didn't know or trained with. If you get attacked it is a very bad situation that can lead to a lot of lives lost. You are going up against insurgents/terrorist that were in actively fighting military units.

Fiona - 
Media is not very kind to Security Contracting groups.

Shawn -
Well the media has an agenda. 

Imagine working in a war zone disguised as a city with the normal activity of a regular city? Now put a $30000 price on your head and drive out of a base that only has 3 exit/entry points and go drive to locations that are commonly visited. Now add in IED's VBIED's (VBIEDS - Vehicle Born Improvised Explosive devices, car bombs for short) ambushes etc. We stood out like a sore thumb and were easy targets. Out of probably 15000 missions BW never lost a principal. 

Fiona - 
WOOT! for BW's huge accomplishments.

Breaking stereotypes and writing it right - what's one thing you'd like us to know that we wouldn't guess?

Shawn -
Most if not all the guys in BW are patriots and love their country. Although we got paid good money to do the job, everyone felt they were doing a good thing for their country and to better the mission in Iraq and Afghanistan. There are bad apples in every bunch, but most of the guys just did their job and wanted to make it back to their families. 
However, we lost dozens of our guys.

War attracts a lot of different personality types. You have to be a little off to want to work in a war zone.

Fiona -
And now you're back in the states and have a school. Can you tell us something about what you do?



LINK


Shawn -
Sure. My current business is teaching people personal safety strategies based on situational awareness principles and observation skills. I will later evolve into developing security plans for schools, businesses and places of worship that address active shooter threats. 


The workshops I offer focus primarily on teaching people how to avoid becoming a victim. I feel it is better to not be attacked versus fighting off an attacker. The reality is, if you walk around with your head in the clouds and don't pay attention to you environment, it doesn't matter what you know or what weapon you have. I do teach few techniques that I feel are effective despite the size and drug induces state of your attacker. 

Remember it takes thousands of repetitions to be able to react under stress. Is your technique you practiced effective? Did you train under stressful situations? 

What I teach is information backed with stories, pictures and real CCTV footage so you will recall years later.

Fiona -
YES! This is one of my pet peeves in literature. A heroine with no experience at anything suddenly fights her way out of a situation or shoots someone dead. It's so improbable that it ruins the story. If a woman goes to kick a guy in the shins, she'll break her toes - if you're going to have her fight - she better have a fighting background, otherwise write it differently - the truth of the outcome is probably a whole lot more interesting anyway.



Pay attention. Watch your Back. Have a Plan.


Shawn -
Exactly. That is the wool put over people's eyes. Take my 2 hour self-defense course, don't practice for 6 months, and when you get attacked you will react properly. Ya right.

Fiona -
Or they read a magazine article once. I've trained MA for ten years, and I would always run from a fight if I could.

Shawn - 
That's smart. They may have a gun, knife, or be an experienced fighter that doesn't hurt easily. Most victims of attacks put themselves in a position to be a victim. A predator preys on the weak.

I just want to be real about everything. If you buy pepper spray, don't believe the commercial and think it will work every time. A stun gun does not work every time. A real gun takes a vital hit to stop someone high on drugs.

Fiona - 
I was in a NRA workshop, and they said with drugged guys you can unload, and they still come after you - then you're left with pistol whipping - not good.

Shawn -
True. Hit vital organs, heart, head, and they will go down. Now try to shoot your gun at someone attacking you, and you never practice? Or your gun jams, and you never practice clearing the jam under stress? Or you never practice taking the gun out of your holster. Now do all these things under the stress of being killed? Different story than practicing in an air-conditioned range with Bon Jovi playing on the speakers




Fiona - 
I just want to say to my fellow writers, for me, it's one thing to make it up, it's another thing to read about/talk with someone as I am doing now with Shawn (because there's no way I'm going to a war zone for the experience). But, I think, it takes your writing to a whole different level when you can do some hands on with what you want to write about. If you're writing a fight scene, you might consider trying it out with and instructor, taking a class. Shawn you're in the DC area, would you consider putting together a day for writers' groups to come and ask you a bajillion questions and try out some of the moves?

Shawn - 
I would love to teach a workshop for writers. I explore areas like active shooter, traumatic first aid, weapons familiarity (penetrating power, weaknesses) terrorism besides other topics. It really is a full service workshop where I try to cover areas people experience in everyday life.

Fiona - 
Now for the traditional Thrillwriting question - would you please tell me the story behind your favorite scar?

Shawn -
My favorite scar. Not combat/gun related. I was attacked by a dog (St. Bernard) at 5 and had to get 50 stitches in my face. Sometimes I joke and tell people it was from when I was in Somalia.

Fiona - 
Shawn, I totally respect and appreciate your service to our country and that you are trying to help others learn to be safe. Thank you so much for your time and experience.


Thank you so much for stopping by. And thank you for your support. When you buy my books, you make it possible for me to continue to bring you helpful articles and keep ThrillWriting free and accessible to all.


Sunday, August 4, 2013

Flight Club - Interview with Author/Pilot Wayne Epperson

____________________________

Fiona- 
Hi there!

Wayne -
Good afternoon.

Fiona -
It's pouring down rain with some magnificent thunder here - how are things in Texas?

Wayne - 
The heat index is going to hit 104 or so. Hot and dry.

Fiona - 
As a Canadian girl, can I just say that I only go visit my in-laws down in Longview at Christmas for a reason? So you're dry and hot - LOL what else should my blog readers know about you, Wayne?
Map to indicate Texas for my non-American readers

Wayne - 
Not much interesting to tell. Former U.S. Marine, long-time newspaper editor, private pilot, author of two crime fiction books with a third one due out in October.

Fiona
Now see, when you say, "not much interesting to tell" - I think you're going to drone on Babbitt-like about your work-a-day life, and then you sound like the heart-throb in a Texas western.that okay? 

Wayne - 
Getting up off the floor and dusting myself off. I wasn't expecting that.

Fiona -
Ha! Well today we're talking about flying.
What makes you crazy to read about planes or plane crashes that is just flat out wrong?

Wayne -
When someone says, "the plane just fell out of the sky." That doesn't happen. There's a sequence of failures, man-made or mechanical or both, that take place before a plane crashes. Here's an example:
A pilot approaching an airport to land turns from downwind to base and fails to maintain proper airspeed will likely stall the aircraft when banking to final approach. That stall leads to a spin too close to the ground to recover a safe altitude. The end result is the aircraft noses over and crashes. To a witness on the ground, it might look like the plane just fell out of the sky.

Fiona- 
And to the pilot it looks like his life is flashing before his eyes?

Wayne - 
No, he probably left a big smoking hole in the ground. Lights out.


VIDEO QUICK STUDY 747 Falling Out of the Sky (1:09)

Fiona - 
Have you ever had a close call?

Wayne - 
Not really close, but one time the engine cut out when I reduced power at altitude after takeoff. I simply pushed the throttle full forward, the engine returned to life, and I landed that sucker as fast as I could.


Fiona
Bravo!

Wayne -
The mechanic was happy to have the business.

Fiona -
Ha! Okay since you brought up plane crashes. It was posted on
a writers' board recently that an editor was insisting that the author have a huge fire in the cockpit after the plane crashed. Can you weigh in?

Wayne -  
Fire is the most feared thing for a pilot. Because, in flight, the oxygen from the rushing air will fan the flames. A pilot faced with that emergency will seek to land quickly. Following a crash, there could be a fire in the cockpit.

I recall a local training flight in the Dallas area where the student pilot, who was accompanied by an instructor, was forced to land because of mechanical failure. He chose to land in a plowed farm field, the fuel line ruptured spilling gasoline on the heated engine, and a fire ensued. They escaped with major burns.

Fiona - 
Wow! Horrific! Good for them escaping. I guess now they have a great bar story if that's any consolation.

Wayne - 
The aircraft was a four-seat trainer. The airlines are a different story. They have so many safety systems and redundant systems that make a cockpit fire less likely. 
What do you fly?

Wayne- 
I fly single-engine land puddle jumpers.



Fiona - 

And does Frank Knott from Crime and Corruption in Texas fly as well?



LINK to Crime and Corruption in Texas


Wayne - 
No, but his former Marine Corps buddy did.

Fiona - 
This is the one who was a good -guy turned not so good guy?

Wayne - 
And he did a lot of bad things behind the control wheel of a powerful Cessna twin-engine hauler.

Fiona - 
Would it be giving away too much if I asked what he was up to?

Wayne - 
Let's just say he was in a sort of pharmaceutical business. 

Fiona - 
LOL okay we'll go with that. What made you decide to get your pilot's license and can you tell us what it takes in terms of study and practice?

Wayne - 
I tried to be a pilot in the Marines, but was disqualified because I am partially color blind, a condition not uncommon for men. The Navy frowns on pilots not knowing which colors are which when they are told to "call the ball" on approach to an aircraft 
carrier deck. 

I finally scraped up the money to pay for my training as a civilian
private pilot where the color restrictions are not so severe. 

It takes a minimum of 40 hours of training before a student pilot can take a check ride with an FAA licensed examiner. It took me
something like 50 hours, which included a solo cross-country flight to an airport about 90 miles away. What did my training cost? I will
never put that number in writing.

Once the check ride is passed, the new pilot then really begins to learn what it means to be a pilot. The lessons never end. 


I just thought of another situation that is irksome.


Fiona -
Yes, please.

Wayne - 
Many fatal accidents of small aircraft involve bad weather. 

There was a case in East Texas a year or so ago where a family
of four was wiped out in a crash because the pilot father flew into
weather he was unable to navigate. He was not instrument rated
(trained to fly in the clouds) and his plane was not capable. 

That was a classic case of pilot error.


Fiona - 
Thank you - that makes sense. And from what my husband tells me of Texas weather, it can be unpredictable and violent.


Wayne - 
He's right. Another pet peeve is the writer being too lazy to research the type of aircraft involved in whatever kind of story. Too many times the reference is simply, "a Cessna private plane crashed." And the aircraft was a Bonanza. That drives a pilot nuts ... if he isn't already there.

Fiona - 
Ha! In my book, MISSING LYNX, I got to go to the airport and get on all the small planes to figure out which one I wanted to steal - I mean my character wanted to steal. Apparently, plane theft isn't all that hard to do.

Wayne - 
All airports have signs posted about reporting suspicious activities in and around the hangers or the tie-downs. Aircraft theft is a big business.

Fiona - 
Well, they are darned expensive. This is the part of the interview where you have a decision to make.

     1) You can tell me about your favorite scar. 

Or 2) you can tell me about your upcoming book.

Or 3) you can do both. 

Wayne - 
Frank Knott walked away from "Chasing Bad Guys" with a memorable scar, but we don't want to describe it here. 

The third book in the series is entitled "EPIC Justice." Frank goes
undercover at the El Paso Intelligence Center to find out who has been tipping off a powerful crime syndicate about smuggling opportunities on the border. Readers will be urging Frank to quit and go home, but there's no back up in this former Marine.

Fiona -
I'm posting a picture of your plane. 




Wayne at the controls of his Piper Cherokee 5398W

Wayne - 
I sold my plane. :'(

Fiona - 
Oh, now that's just pitiful. LOL. COWBOY UP!

Wayne - 
Your husband's from Texas? How did you end up in D.C.? And how's the ankle?

Fiona - 
Ah, the reporter in you is turning the tables. I wondered how long 
it would take. Thank you so much for being a guest here on ThrillWriting.

Wayne - 
Take care ... As pilots always say, "Good day."

Fiona - 
Why do they say that and not "sunny skies" or "safe landings"?

Wayne - 
Good day covers it all ... 




Thank you so much for stopping by. And thank you for your support. When you buy my books, you make it possible for me to continue to bring you helpful articles and keep ThrillWriting free and accessible to all.