Blog written by JL Saint  aka Jennifer St. Giles!

The question is one I am sure all of us have asked many times about a number of things. If you are Michelle Pfeiffer then you know a murdering Harrison Ford is lurking beneath the surface of your suburban life. If you are the rock group, Breaking Benjamin, then you’re searching beneath a twisted smile in a Dear Agony Album. If you are a Criminal Minds’ BAU star then you’re deep into the hidden horrors of a killer’s psyche. And LOL if you happen to be in the Highlands with bagpipes then perhaps you are staring at Loch Ness wondering if the legendary monster really lives beneath the murky waves.

In some way we all wonder what lies beneath the surface of what we see. What truths lie beneath the headlines of a gripping news story or an explosive scandal? Finding the answers to that question is never easy because life if not black and white, and there are a multitude of layers coloring the answers.

So, whenever I sit down and write a book, I always ask myself “What lies beneath?” What lies beneath, the façade of a character? The dynamics of the plot? The world in which the story is set? The answers I find often reach into the very heart of the story I tell. When I settled on the title of Collateral Damage, the first book in my Silent Warrior Series, I was drawn to explore the deeper meanings beneath phrase that had been born from war.

The military defines collateral damage as "[the] unintentional damage or incidental damage affecting facilities, equipment, or personnel, occurring as a result of military actions directed against targeted enemy forces or facilities. Such damage can occur to friendly, neutral, and even enemy forces. Since its inception, collateral damage has come to mean so much more and is now applied to many areas of life.

Put simply, every action a person takes has intent, something they are trying to accomplish, and ninety-nine percent of the time there is a world of unintentional consequences as a result of that action.

In my story, Jack Hunter, Lauren Collins and her twin sons are victims of collateral damage, and not just in regards to the injuries Jack suffers on a military mission in Lebanon. Lauren and her sons’ lives are torn apart by the decisions made by her soon to be ex. It is a stark fact in life that all of us are affected by the collateral damage from the choices other people make. And others are damaged by the choices we make, too. As Lauren and Jack realize this in their lives, they also learn from each other one very important thing. How they deal with the fallout of the collateral damage is what determines the quality of their future.

Can you see this in your own life?

Now that I likely went too deep, let me tell you that my Silent Warrior Series are romantic thrillers featuring military heroes and heroines with extraordinary hearts. Book one, Collateral Damage came out in December. The story starts two weeks after Jack has been seriously wounded on a FUBAR mission in Lebanon. Jack sees the picture of prominent American businessman, Bill Collins, on the news as having died yesterday in Brazil. Jack’s sketchy memory is telling him he killed Collins in Lebanon two weeks ago but nobody believes Jack.

Jack leaves the hospital and goes AWOL to uncover the truth. Instead of answers, he gets assassins, more questions, and a terrorist plot that threatens to ignite a world war. As he fights to keep Lauren, Bill’s estranged widow and her twin sons alive, he lays more than his life on the line and stands to lose everything when the truth behind Bill’s death comes to light.

Meet Jack “DT” Hunter…

Shorter of breath and one day closer to death…

Pink Floyd’s “Time” hammered through Sergeant First Class Jack Hunter’s brain as he tightened his grip on the treadmill and ran harder, his heart pounding, his lungs burning. Rage tinged with fear made for a potent Power Bar that fueled his drive. Sweat poured from his brow and his body screamed for relief, but he couldn’t stop. Not yet. His vision dimmed, and President Anderson’s address on the overhead TV calling for a swift but rational retaliation to al-Qaeda’s latest attack became nothing but a blur in his mind.

Life often hinged on the details, those seemingly insignificant microscopic events that most people trampled over obliviously. He’d trained to notice the details and to remember them. Yet no matter how hard he tried, his memory of the mission in Lebanon remained a kaleidoscope of combat images and one man’s mocking blue eyes…Jack clenched his teeth against the rising pain inside him. He took being team leader to heart both on and off the battlefield. The mission and his men were his responsibility. Rico, Pecos and Neil were his Delta brothers, and it killed him that he could only remember bits and pieces of what happened.

They’re here, DT. They’re alive! Will Taylor’s—aka Pecos—distorted voice echoed in Jack’s mind, sucking him down a long tunnel of fragmented memories… Suddenly Jack’s head jerked back as his headphones were snatched off and Lt. Col. Roger Weston, his Delta Team commander, whom the teams called Commander Weston because anything less didn’t fit his hard-edged charisma, got in his face. “Son of a bitch, DT. Are you trying to kill yourself?”

You can read the full excerpt at and for a chance to win an ARC email to and tell me how you would choose for Lauren and Jack to meet each other for the first time.

Buy it today on Amazon at

Look for Collateral Damage in print on 11/1/11

Look for Book Two of the Silent Warrior Series, Tactical Deception to be released November 2011.

Enjoy the story and huge thanks to Pink Fuzzy Slippers for having me today

JL Saint aka Jennifer St. Giles.


  1. Pamela Varnado // January 24, 2011 at 10:25 AM  

    Welcome JL,
    I'm so glad you're with us today. Your post inspired me. Asking "What Lies Beneath?" is a great way to start a story. I usually connect with my characters at the end of chapter three. So asking a question in the pre-writing stage will help me get into their heads sooner. Which makes writing a whole lot easier.

  2. Nightingale // January 24, 2011 at 10:49 AM  

    Powerful excerpt! I had to dash off and read the rest. You said something in your blog I need to try--asking what lies beneath. I'm going to try that with my WIP.

  3. Connie Gillam // January 24, 2011 at 11:15 AM  

    Wonderful blog, Jenny, and very timely for me.

    I've started a new book, and I'm trying to figure out who my characters are and what lies beneath their outward motivations.

    I also have your flier for Collateral Damage on my desk. I love the cover and will download the book today.

  4. Jennifer St. Giles // January 24, 2011 at 11:18 AM  

    Good morning ladies! And wow, thanks for enjoying the excerpt but more importantly, thank you for enjoying the blog. If it has you thinking in the morning while even my brain is still fuzzy, then I did my job. LOL Great to be here in pink fuzzy slipper land.

  5. Judy // January 24, 2011 at 11:28 AM  

    Wonderful, JL, to learn of your new series. It's exciting reading!! Good luck with everything.I like the idea of digging deep to find what lies underneath not only the characters but the story itself!! Thanks for visiting the Fuzzies!!

  6. Toni V.S. // January 24, 2011 at 11:33 AM  

    Collateral Damage...the Domino Effect...everything we do affects others at some time, even if not immediately. Great excerpt. Sounds like a powerful book. And sometimes what lies beneath our characters shows up when we least expect it, and not exactly the way we want it too, either. I've found that out the hard way.

  7. Jennifer St. Giles // January 24, 2011 at 12:03 PM  

    Thank you Judy and Toni you are so right about the characters surprising us with you they become. LOL does that mean we are learning hidden pieces of our own psyche that we are not aware of?

  8. Patrice // January 24, 2011 at 12:28 PM  

    Very intriguing! I've never thought about digging beneath a story before, although of course I do that with my characters. Collatoral Damage sounds like a wonderful read. Loved your excerpt. I'm also writing about war heros, returning war heroes wounded in body and spirit and the women who love them. My first is making the rounds, and I'm busy on the second. Can't wait to read yours. Good luck.

  9. Mary Marvella // January 24, 2011 at 12:32 PM  

    WOW, Jenny! This new series shows a side of you I haven't seen before. Yes, you made me think. YES, I loved the excerpt. Thanks for sharing your advice with us.

  10. Beth Trissel // January 24, 2011 at 12:55 PM  

    Welcome to the Fuzzies JL,
    I enjoyed your insightful post. Very good observations you made. Your story sounds excellent too. Love the cover.

  11. Tamara LeBlanc // January 24, 2011 at 2:50 PM  

    What lies beneath is the perfect question for me today.
    I've been writing my paranormal urban fantasy called Temptress over the last few months, and asking myself those three words is something i hadn't thought about. I'm looking forward to seeing exactly what it is that's making my hero and heroine tick, so even though I didn't do this in the pre-writing stages, I feel confident it will help now.
    So thank you for that!
    I also wanted to say bravo on the cover, the excerpt and the whole story within Collateral Damage. I downloaded the book on my IPad and love your writing style. the strength in your characters and the pain they live with is evident in every word you write.
    Excellent book and excellent blog!!
    Have a great evening,

  12. Jennifer St. Giles // January 24, 2011 at 4:12 PM  

    Thank you Patrice, Mary, Beth, and Tamara. Your encouragement and support and comments have made my day so much brighter. I waited nine years to write Collateral Damage. It is a book that means a lot to me, so I thank you

  13. Scarlet Pumpernickel // January 24, 2011 at 9:01 PM  

    Welcome to the Pink Fuzzies, we're so glad you came to visit. Enjoyed the blog and zipped over to your website to read the excerpt. Great story, can't wait to read it.

  14. Mona Risk // January 25, 2011 at 5:36 PM  

    JL, your writing is so powerful. I love it. I am sure your book is amazing. What lies beneath the surface? I have been asking myself the same question as I try to sketch the characters of my next story.

  15. Joanne // January 30, 2011 at 3:31 PM  

    Hi Jennifer,
    Welcome to the Pink Fuzzies. Wow--your new book sounds amazing! What lies beneath is a powerful, thought-provoking question.