Posts Tagged ‘Ancient Knowledge’

The Challenges and Benefits of Co-Writing According to Authors Lance and James Morcan

New Zealand father-and-son writing team Lance and James Morcan have just co-authored and released their ninth novel, an action-adventure titled The Dogon Initiative (The Deniables, Book 1)

In the following interview, Morcan Senior (Lance) talks about the challenges of collaborating on books and also the inspiration behind their latest novel.

Please tell us about yourself and your books

I’m an author/screenwriter and former journalist who collaborates with my son. I’m based in New Zealand; my co-writer/son James, who is also an actor, is based in Sydney, Australia.

We could be described as a prolific Kiwi father-and-son writing team and together we’ve co-authored more than 20 fiction and non-fiction titles.

Our established novels include the bestselling historical adventures White Spirit and Into the Americas, which are both based on true stories, and the modern thrillers The Orphan Trilogy and Silent Fear; our non-fiction titles include Debunking Holocaust Denial Theories and the bestseller Genius Intelligence.

New releases include the action-thriller The Dogon Initiative (The Deniables, Book 1) and the non-fiction book Vaccine Science Revealed: Are Childhood Immunizations As Safe As Claimed?

We have adapted (and are adapting) several of our novels to feature film screenplays, and some are now in development with our production company Morcan Motion Pictures.

Could you tell us something about The Dogon Initiative that is not found in the book description?

The book and the series it has spawned (or is about to spawn) were inspired by the belief American intelligence contracts foreign mercenaries to undertake clandestine missions abroad. They’re known as deniable assets. Deniable because, if a mission goes belly up, the agency will deny any knowledge of their existence and no-one’s to their assistance. For obvious reasons, we refer to the assets as the Deniables.

Book one in the series shows how the CIA’s New Paradigms Team, a newly-formed humanitarian division of the agency, is tasked with saving Mali’s persecuted Dogon people from genocide. Although fictional, we consider it’s not too unlikely the CIA is pursuing humanitarian goals, and, with that in mind, that’s the basis of the entire series. Each book will focus on the Deniables’ latest mission.    

What do you want readers to take away from this story?

That ethnic groups throughout Africa – the mysterious Dogon of Mali in particular – are not ignorant desert nomads or cow herders, but are keepers of ancient knowledge the rest of us would do well to treasure. In the case of the Dogon, who many believe have links to the ancient Egyptians, they have an uncanny understanding of the heavens that has intrigued astronomers for centuries. Some believe that knowledge came from alien visitations.

Did you plan for this book to the first in a series? How many books do you have planned for The Deniables?

Yes, we always planned for The Dogon Initiative to be the first in the series. We have almost limitless story line ideas so the series could eventually comprise many books… Or we could run outta steam and end up with only a few. Time will tell!

What was your process for writing The Dogon Initiative? Is this different or the same as other books?

The writing process differs from book to book. Usually, the one whose brainchild it was ‘drives’ the project and the other acts more as an editor and sounding board. I usually drive our historical novels and James usually drives our contemporary novels and non-fiction books.

Regardless of who drives a book project, we both agree on an overall story outline and then one of us takes the reins to craft a first draft. In this case, it was me who crafted the first draft.

Can you share with us what are the challenges and benefits of co-writing a novel?

As a (somewhat rare) father-and-son writing team based in different countries (NZ and Aussie) there are many challenges as you can imagine. Electronic communication overcomes the distance problem, but there are numerous artistic disagreements regarding plots and story lines. However, the benefits far outweigh any disadvantages because our generational differences mean we can cater for young and old reading tastes, and we edit each other’s writing mercilessly. (Usually, whoever argues or cries the loudest prevails… and the end result seems to be okay… So far)!

What is the biggest thing you learned when it comes to publishing and marketing your novels?

It’s all about the book’s launch. If you screw up the launch, the book will be lucky to rise to the top of the rankings because it won’t be noticed. This is a generalization because we have screwed up a book’s launch and the book still rose to the top. Our best example of this is our latest historical adventure White Spirit, which missed the launch completely, but ultimately became our best ever seller.

Being active on Goodreads is one of the best marketing activities an author can undertake. We believe many book sales can be attributed to an author’s following on Goodreads. In our case, we have formed the Underground Knowledge global discussion group on the site. Its membership has topped 10,600 making it one of the biggest and fastest growing groups on Goodreads. This has generated tremendous interest in our books. (New members are welcome, and authors of alternative thinking books are welcome to post their books on the site)!

In your opinion, what is the measure of a book’s success?

Number of sales and quality of reviews.

What would be your advice for aspiring co-authors?

Read, read, read and write, write, write… then write some more… then rewrite what you’ve written and rewrite some more! If you’re still passionate about what you’re doing after all that… then you are a writer!

What are you working on next?

Book two in The Deniables Series.


The Dogon Initiative (The Deniables Book 1) 

by Lance & James Morcan

A group of foreign mercenaries hired as deniable assets by a newly-formed humanitarian division of the CIA is tasked with saving Mali’s persecuted Dogon people from genocide. The operation must be carried out in stealth while journeying across some of West Africa’s most hostile terrain. As if all that’s not enough, they are also instructed to help solve an ancient astronomical mystery linked to the pyramids of Egypt.

Mission impossible? Duh!

Nicknamed the Deniables because their existence isn’t officially acknowledged by the CIA, the mercenaries are crazy enough to accept the mission anyway. However, they soon find themselves fighting for their lives when they get caught in the middle of warring ethnic factions in Mali. Their only way to survive is to join with the Dogon in a race against the clock. The stakes are so high that not only could an entire indigenous group be wiped off the face of the Earth, but all evidence that supports advanced ancient technology theories surrounding the Dogon and a lost civilization thesis may be destroyed in the process.

Inspired by a true-life mystery of astronomy, THE DOGON INITIATIVE highlights some of the many myths and theories surrounding the fascinating Dogon people of Mali. In particular, their unexplained knowledge of the invisible-to-the-eye Sirius B white dwarf star, the rings of Saturn and other heavenly bodies, and their rumored ancestral relationship to ancient Egyptians.

The Dogon Initiative – “An excellent black ops adventure,” says one reviewer.
Author interview supplied courtesy of This is Writing – “A place where stories can be
shared without judgement; a place were books and words are valued above all.”
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In our new action-adventure THE DOGON INITIATIVE (The Deniables, Book 1), the CIA is intent on obtaining proof that the Dogon of West Africa possess ancient knowledge – knowledge that predates modern astronomy.

Early in the novel, two key members of the agency’s New Paradigms Team  lobby their superior to order the Deniables taskforce to photograph cave paintings of the Sirius star system in the Dogon’s homeland in Mali.

Excerpt follows:

Catrell placed a tablet she was holding on the desktop in front of the senior agent. On its screen was a photo of a cave painting.

“This is a painting that accurately depicts the Sirius star system… One of many such paintings to be found in the caves along the Bandiagara Escarpment, in the Dogon homeland. Pointing at a smaller star on the system’s periphery, she added, “And this Sirius B, the white dwarf companion star of Sirius A and the star said to be invisible to the human eye.”

“Said to be?” Daley asked.

“Modern day astronomers assure us that is the case,” said Catrell, “but the Dogon believe their forefathers have known of its existence for centuries. They insist that Moussa’s ancient forefather, the original Moussa Diarra, first discovered it… Long before the invention of telescopes.”

“So this so-called invisible white dwarf star can be seen in the cave paintings,” Daley said to himself. “I assume they’ve been carbon-dated?”

“They have,” said Catrell, “but carbon dating of cave paintings can be an inexact science.”

“Which is why sourcing and authenticating a painting that features ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics would seal the deal as far as present-day academics are concerned,” said Einhorn re-joining the discussion. “It would prove beyond doubt that, one, the painting is truly ancient, and, two, the Dogon have knowledge that predates modern astronomy.”

Daley formed a steeple with his fingers to rest his chin upon as he surveyed the two agents and considered their pitch.

At length he said, “Remind me why this is so important.”

“Because it would support the theory that the Dogon have unexplained knowledge,” said Einhorn. “Such a revelation would reflect well on a people considered by the ill-informed to be little more than ignorant desert nomads and cave-dwellers.”

“And the unearthing of such knowledge could well have benefits for all Mankind,” Catrell quickly added.

“And you want me to order our taskforce in Mali to locate the mystery cave in question and photograph or film the mystery painting after they reach Tireli?” Daley said.

The two agents nodded.

“Why wait until now to drop this on me?” the senior agent asked.

“We’ve been primarily focused on the logistics of the Dogon Initiative up to this point,” Catrell explained. “Only now are we able to focus on the humanitarian issues.”

Daley accepted that explanation.

The women waited in silence while their superior considered what they were asking of him. They had nothing more to say. They’d delivered their best pitch. Now it was up to Daley.

Finally, the senior agent nodded.

“Very well,” he said, “you’ve convinced me.” He indicated the meeting was over and motioned to his subordinates to leave. Before they reached the door, he mumbled, “Oh… good pitch by the way.”

The women departed, feeling pleased with themselves.

 

The Dogon Initiative (The Deniables Book 1) by [Morcan, Lance, Morcan, James]

THE DOGON INITIATIVE  is available via Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07NKTD515/

 

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“A novel of epic length, THE DOGON INITIATIVE proves once again that the Morcans are a very fine writing team. This is a tale that pleads to be a film…Highly recommended.” – That’s Amazon Hall of Fame Top 50 reviewer Grady Harp’s take on the new release action-thriller by Lance & James Morcan, the authors of nine published novels.

Excerpts from Grady’s Amazon review follow:

The Morcans know how to deliver intrigue, both on scientific subjects and most assuredly on suspense thrillers. They invite us in with their moody Prologue which in addition to giving us insight in the tale to follow allows us to appreciate some fine African ‘history’. ‘The first full moon of the rainy season was a momentous occasion for the Dogon people of Mali. It marked the day, many countless moons ago when, according to legend at least, Moussa Diarra, one of their ancient forefathers, discovered Sirius B, the second star in the Sirius solar system and one that wouldn’t be rediscovered by astronomers until hundreds of years later. And then only with the aid of telescopes. Every year, Dogon used the occasion to celebrate Moussa’s discovery and to pay homage to the greatest of all their spiritual leaders. Moussa had ruled over Dogon when the Mali Empire was the largest in West Africa. Its western border stretched all the way to the Atlantic Ocean and it was a center of culture, language, education, mathematics, science, law, trade, and great wealth. It was a time when Dogon had considerable more influence. In the present day they are a persecuted minority facing cultural extinction as they’re continually attacked by larger ethnic and religious fundamentalist groups whose number include disenchanted Muslims.’

With that flavor of credible authenticity the story proceeds – mood set, characters arise. Apropos of the authors the lead character is Australian – security consultant Dean Hawkins. Or as the summary of the plot states, ‘A group of foreign mercenaries hired as deniable assets by a newly-formed humanitarian division of the CIA is tasked with saving Mali’s persecuted Dogon people from genocide. The operation must be carried out in stealth while journeying across some of West Africa’s most hostile terrain. They are also instructed to help solve an ancient astronomical mystery linked to the pyramids of Egypt. Nicknamed the Deniables because their existence isn’t officially acknowledged by the CIA, the mercenaries are crazy enough to accept the mission anyway. However, they soon find themselves fighting for their lives when they get caught in the middle of warring ethnic factions in Mali. Their only way to survive is to join with the Dogon in a race against the clock. The stakes are so high that not only could an entire indigenous group be wiped off the face of the Earth, but all evidence that supports advanced ancient technology theories surrounding the Dogon and a lost civilization thesis may be destroyed in the process. Inspired by a true-life mystery of astronomy.’

Grady Harp, Hall of Fame Top 50 reviewer

 

The Dogon Initiative (The Deniables Book 1) by [Morcan, Lance, Morcan, James]

THE DOGON INITIATIVE (The Deniables, Book 1)  is available via Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07NKTD515/

 

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The first full moon of the rainy season was a momentous occasion for the Dogon people of Mali. It marked the day, many countless moons ago when, according to legend at least, Moussa Diarra, one of their ancient forefathers, discovered Sirius B, the second star in the Sirius star system and one that wouldn’t be rediscovered by astronomers until hundreds of years later. And then only with the aid of telescopes. Every year, the Dogon used the occasion to celebrate Moussa’s discovery and to pay homage to the greatest of all their spiritual leaders.

So begins the prologue in our new release action-thriller THE DOGON INITIATIVE (The Deniables, Book 1).

The prologue continues:

Moussa had ruled over the Dogon when the Mali Empire was the largest in West Africa. Its western border stretched all the way to the Atlantic Ocean and it was a center of culture, language, education, mathematics, science, law, trade and great wealth. It was a time when the Dogon had considerably more influence. In the present day they are a persecuted minority facing cultural extinction as they’re continually attacked by larger ethnic and religious fundamentalist groups whose number include disenchanted Muslims.

The first full moon was a significant occasion for one of the great Moussa Diarra’s youngest descendants also for it marked the day of his birth, and that was another good reason for the Dogon of the tiny village of Tireli to celebrate.

Moussa’s namesake, ten-year-old Moussa Diarra, was too young to fully appreciate the significance of the occasion. Even so, he wore his legendary ancestor’s name with pride, and he basked in the adulation the villagers bestowed upon him. They believed him to be a Nommo, an ancestral spirit returned from the dead, and they dreamed that he would help them tap into their reservoir of knowledge dating back to ancient times and lead them back to their former greatness.

Physically, young Moussa was an unremarkable specimen, different to the other boys. Skinny and a little shorter than average, he did, however, have one remarkable feature: one eye (his right eye) was blue and the other brown. It was a trait he’d inherited from his father and from his father’s father going all the way back, as legend would have it, to the original Moussa Diarra.

For the Dogon, this was absolute and final confirmation that young Moussa was their future leader. A reincarnation, many claimed, of his revered ancestor. Some even insisted he had inherited all his ancestor’s genes…

Later in the prologue, Moussa’s bodyguard and mentor Ibrahim takes the boy to a secret cave high in the cliffs behind Tireli. We take up the story where the pair enter the cave.

Moussa followed the muscular Ibrahim through the entrance and discovered it opened up into a cavern almost as big as his father’s lodge. The front of the cave was dappled in sunlight; the rest of it faded to blackness.

“Where are we?” he asked. His voice echoed in the cave’s rocky confines.

“We are in a special place,” Ibrahim said, nodding to the near wall. “A sacred place.”

Moussa saw a shaft of sunlight had illuminated a map of the heavens on the wall.

“It was painted by Dogon artisans many centuries ago,” Ibrahim said. He knew that to be a fact because modern-day scientists and astronomers had researched similar paintings in other caves along the escarpment and had decreed the paintings around Tireli at least were between three-hundred-and-fifty and four hundred years old.

This particular map, one of many such ancient maps to be found in these caves, was adorned by strange symbols, which Moussa had never seen the likes of before.

Observing Moussa’s fascination with the ancient painting, Ibrahim knew he’d been right to suggest to the boy’s father that he bring him to this hallowed place on this special day…

 

The Dogon Initiative  is available now via Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07NKTD515/

 

The Dogon Initiative (The Deniables Book 1) by [Morcan, Lance, Morcan, James]

A group of foreign mercenaries hired as deniable assets by a newly-formed humanitarian division of the CIA is tasked with saving Mali’s persecuted Dogon people from genocide. The operation must be carried out in stealth while journeying across some of West Africa’s most hostile terrain. As if all that’s not enough, they are also instructed to help solve an ancient astronomical mystery linked to the pyramids of Egypt.

 

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