But after I returned from my trip, life happened, and I forgot all about my vision. In 2008 I finally got a chance to put the GREEN DESERT story on paper, at the time entitled DAISY IN A DESERT. Then, during a move, the manuscript was lost.
In 2010 I remembered my Jade Snow Adventure series idea. At the time, I was working on THE EARTH SHIFTER, a fantasy/thriller, which I called "my serious book," and which I am planning to release in the Spring, 2012. When I hit the wall, it occured to me that I should write a "light, simple" mystery - to distract myself from "my serious writing." That's how VIRTUAL PARADISE was born. It was supposed to be a cozy mystery at first, serving as a comic relief of sorts when The Earth Shifter (with it's complicated plot and structure) became too heavy of a burden to write.
Eventually, Virtual Paradise developed into something much more than a cozy mystery and is now shaping up as a promissing international mystery/thriller series. The second Jade Snow book, a mystery/spy thriller THE GOLD TRAIN, set in Russia, is to be released during the Holiday Season 2011.
In the beginning of September 2011 I, all of a sudden, got an urge to re-create the GREEN DESERT story. I didn't plan it this way, but very fittingly, its release coincides with the 10th aniversary of 9/11.
And here it is! GREEN DESERT, a Jade Snow Adventure Series prequel, release - 9/15/2011. Ebook price $0.99. Read it on Amazon, B&N Nook, Smashwords and everywhere else! Links to wherever it's sold will be posted here, on my blog, and on my website http://www.LadaRay.com/ in a couple of days. As a bonus, an excerpt from the upcoming thriller, THE GOLD TRAIN, is included with GREEN DESERT purchase!
For now, please enjoy the description and excerpt below! Comments are welcome!
He dreamed about turning the Iraqi desert into a garden - what made him become a terrorist? When international journalist Jade Snow comes to Iraq to shoot a documentary about the Iraqi insurgency, she witnesses a suicide bombing of a truck, full of American soldiers. When two letters drop in her lap, she must take a chilling journey, as the suicide bomber and an American sergeant, killed in the attack, tell their stories from the grave.
He looked up and wiped the sweat streaming down his face with a trembling hand. Eight am… Baghdad sun knew no mercy even at this hour. He must concentrate, just a few more minutes! He stood next to his shabby, dusty Corolla, with faded taxi markings on it. The alley was deserted and deathly quiet, as expected. But just down the hill, barely thirty meters away and fully visible from his vantage point, was the intersection of the busiest road in the city.
Almost time. They should be here any moment.
He took an envelope out of his pocket and almost decided to leave it by the gate of the nearest house, securing it with a rock, when he saw an American press crew - a cameraman and a tall, slim woman, disguised as a man (who was she kidding?) - setting up their camera straight on the intersection.
He simply couldn't believe his luck! Allah is merciful, he didn't desert him in this hour of judgment! He cast a quick glance around - and another stroke of luck! A young boy, no more than eight or nine, rounded the corner, carrying a heavy jug of water, and made his way through the alley.
"Hey, boy! Come here, little boy," he called, waving temptingly his last two dollar bills. "Want to make some real American money?"
The boy nodded and cautiously edged closer.
He handed the boy the envelope. "I want you to give this after the explosion to that pretty lady, dressed as a man. Do you see her?"
The boy's shrewd eyes shot in the direction of the American press crew, and he nodded, giggling. Then, another thought made him frown.
"What explosion?" he asked suspiciously.
"You'll see," said the mysterious man. "The most important thing, stay hidden right here until after it happens. Understood?"
The boy nodded.
The man gave him an encouraging smile and got into his Corolla. Time!
He started the motor and quietly rolled closer to the intersection. Immediately, he heard the rumbling noise of a huge American truck, then he saw it. Praise Allah! Yet another stroke of luck - the monstrosity was full of soldiers. A big man with sergeant's insignia sat in the cabin, next to the driver. Good! He'll aim right at him. An officer is even better than mere soldiers.
"Allaaaaaaaaaaaah!" He slammed his foot on the accelerator and with a desperate cry launched his car forward, like a missile.
The big sergeant in the front seat turned his head towards him. The last thing the man's mind registered was a surprise in sergeant's blue eyes.