Dear Book Publisher:
Lucky day for you! I am giving you first crack at a work in progress, a story of total fiction involving national security, major military campaigns, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
OK, I know you book publishing guys. You are going to want a sex angle. Tough challenge. This won't exactly be Debbie Does Iraq, but I'll work on it.
Here is a sketch of some of my characters.
Paula Broadwell: Paula is razor sharp, accomplished, highly educated, 40-year-old married mom of two.
Paula is befriended by one of the top U.S. military commanders and eventually convinces him to let her write his biography.
They become enamored of one another and their six-mile runs evolve into even longer naps and Paula gets total access to this man, if you get my drift.
This love affair leads to the downfall of…
David Petraeus: David is 60, married to Holly, has grown children. He becomes a national hero as commander of U.S forces in Afghanistan and is rewarded by being appointed director of the CIA.
When his frequent naps with Paula become public, David is fired, crashing an outstanding career. This whole affair might have remained secret were it not for…
Jill Kelley: Readers are going to love Jill! I portray her as a 37-year-old sexy Tampa socialite.
Jill, the wife of a prominent doctor, is fabulously wealthy, living in a $1.5 million home on one of Tampa's most fashionable avenues.
But get this twist: She can't pay her credit card bills! Am I good or what?
Behind that perky beauty is a complex lady. Turns out Jill is a military groupie who spends tons of cash throwing lavish parties for high-ranking officers at the Tampa base, which in my book turns out to be the hub for much of our country's foreign war activity.
I am kind of proud of that plot device because most of us think of Tampa as the hub of outdoor shuffleboard.
As you might guess, Jill is a very good friend of former commander and now disgraced CIA director Petraeus. This worries Paula, who sees Jill as a competitor for David's affections. She begins to send Jill anonymous, threatening emails.
That, in turn, scares Jill who turns the emails over to an accomplished FBI agent who in the book I call…
Frederick Humphries: Frederick is 47, married, a zealot on national security. When his peers do not, in his opinion, aggressively investigate the mysterious emails, Frederick dumps the whole mess on a politician who chases it up the line until Petraeus Peak erupts and engulfs the nation.
To give the story a more playful angle, I have Frederick and Jill in a teaser relationship, which has him sending her a picture of him with no shirt on. This is to make it look like he has the hots for Jill, but no!
Ten pages later I reveal the picture was taken at a party. Frederick is in the snapshot along with others, including the Rev. Jesse Jackson.
Even I can't figure out why I put Jesse in the picture, but there he is.
The bare chest was all in innocent fun! It's, like, what they do at Tampa high-brow parties. Don't you love this?
Still undeveloped in my story is the character of Gen. John Allen who took David's place in Afghanistan. Right now I have John running the military operation from 9 a.m. to noon Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
This frees the bulk of his time to write thousands of e-mails to Jill. I just haven't figured out yet why he does that.
So, Mr. Book Publisher, what do you think?
Dear Aspiring Book Writer:
Even the most wild fiction needs some base in reality. And on a personal note, may I suggest you probably should seek professional therapy?
Ned Cantwell welcomes response to: