Sunday 13 August 2017

Author/Novel Spotlight: Steve Wilson

Today, I am spotlighting Steve Wilson, novelist of the Award winning Michael Neill Adventures. I first came across Steve while reviewing Dony Jay's military and special ops novels. Steve is a close friend of Dony's and when Dony mentioned to me that I should check out Steve's books, I thought that since he has encouraged Dony so much in his writing, he would be one to investigate. Well, what a treasure trove of intrigue, military special ops and soldiers of faith I discovered here! I was hooked. I knew then that I had to spotlight this novelist. Did I mention that each book in this series has won multiple Awards? 

The Michael Neill Adventures series has been nominated for The Christian Manifesto's Lime Award for Excellence in Fiction for three years running. They have also won the Shelf Unbound Notable Book Award in the Page Turner category, received the Five Star Award from Readers Favorite, won Silver and Gold in Literary Classics' 2016 Book Awards, and have appeared in the Military Writers Society of America's recommended reading list.

His latest release, Eye of Charybdis, won Silver in the 2017 Literary Classics, College classification (age group).

So without further ado, let's investigate Steve Wilson as an Award winning author, his writing and passion for a God honouring story and portraying "faith in uniform" as he describes this series.

First, let us view his bio:

Steve Wilson is a multimedia designer and has worked in advertising for over 25 years. A prior service Marine, he now serves in the Air Force Reserve as a senior NCO, and is a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2010, he was named the Air Force Reserve Air Transportation NCO of the Year and has been awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal and the Meritorious Service Medal. His ties to the military have taken him all over the world, and he has visited the former Soviet Union on multiple occasions.

“I have always been a big reader. I think that’s what inspired me to try my hand at writing. Writing is cathartic to me. Returning from Afghanistan in 2011, I wanted to work on something fulfilling. A few years earlier, I had written a draft of my first novel, ‘Red Sky at Morning’. It was intended to be youth fiction, but no one would read it. Coming home, I dusted it off and repurposed it with an eye toward the post-Cold War, post-9/11 world.

Finally, I got the attention of a publicist, who told me the book didn’t have a ‘teen voice’. I expanded the story, doubled its length, and revised it for an older audience. With a lot of diligence, I eventually found a publisher.

I try to keep the books character-driven. My goal is to tell a compelling story without throwing around a lot of acronyms or technical jargon. There’s some of that, but only to ground the action in a realistic frame of reference. The novels have been compared to the works of Tom Clancy or Vince Flynn. That’s very flattering, but you won’t find any profanity or compromising situations in my novels. The books are family-friendly with a faith based message of honor, courage, service and sacrifice. Written for adults but suitable for the mature teen.

Now let's have a look at The Michael Neill Series, view his novel's Awards and a sample of their reviews. All books in this series in print and e-book editions. Click on the title to be taken to the Amazon book description page, to buy or view the Look Inside feature:

Red Sky At Morning

When Marine Lieutenant Michael Neill is ordered to the former Soviet Union, his assignment is to verify nuclear disarmament. But before his mission begins, an American reconnaissance plane is attacked by a Russian fighter, and a Navy pilot is killed. After the incident, Neill’s mission changes.

Willis Avery, the President’s National Security Advisor, wants Lieutenant Neill to investigate Russian stealth technology, in addition to his original assignment. Photographic evidence—and the lack of radar images of the attacking aircraft—lead the American intelligence community to conclude that something new has been developed in the skies over Russia. Avery believes that Neill’s friendship with a high-ranking officer in the Ukrainian Air Force is the key to establishing Red Sky at Morning—the existence of new aviation technology that could upset the balance of power between East and West.

However, ultra-nationalist forces are at work. After arriving in Eastern Europe, Neill quickly uncovers a conspiracy of terrorism secretly instigated by the Kremlin. Government leaders in Moscow will stop at nothing to rebuild the Soviet Union as they try to force the breakaway republics back into the fold.

Neill discovers that the terrorism has extended to the weapons facility he is charged with inspecting. Communist agents have gone far beyond their original orders, and it’s a race against time as the Marine—with the help of a beautiful Ukrainian journalist—tries to stop them—and come up with a plan to bring down the corrupt government officials in Moscow.

on April 10, 2015
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this first book by Steve Wilson, even though I was only introduced to it recently. I find that his writing style is very creative and thorough and the story keeps one engaged until the very last page. There is the hint of a romance in the story, maybe two, but the focus remains on the missions that Lt. Michael Neill, the main character, has been tasked with, to verify the disassembling of nuclear weapons at the ordnance facility in Odessa, and learn as much as possible about the new stealth technology the Russians have come up with. I find that the characters are quite well crafted and the description is enough that the reader can build his/her own mental picture of each character. As an avid reader of espionage, suspense, thriller, action/adventure books, I really appreciate the quality of this story and the effort that was put into it. The absence of graphic sexual content, profanity, and the abuse of God's name is a wonderful change from other books in this genre and I would not hesitate to recommend this book for middle-school or high school reading levels, even though the intellectual level is geared toward adults. There is some violence, as one would expect in a story dealing with terrorism and weaponry, but the author's focus is on keeping the story at pace and intriguing enough to keep the reader turning pages. I also appreciate the virtues the author has instilled in the main characters of the book. This is definitely recommended for those interested in this genre.

Somalia has split in two, with armed insurgents threatening American lives. China has emerged as a leading arms exporter, supplying weapons to Third World nations. But before National Security Advisor Willis Avery can deal with either danger, he faces a new challenge.

On her maiden voyage, Beijing’s newest and most advanced nuclear submarine is destroyed by a weapon of unimaginable power. While the loss of the sub is kept secret, America and her allies want to know what happened. Avery believes a renegade faction of China’s Navy is behind the attack, striking from a secret naval facility in the South China Sea, and assembles a group to investigate.

Leading the mission is Marine Corps, Lieutenant Michael Neill. Fresh from his assignment in the Ukraine, Neill and his team, with a little help from British Intelligence and the Royal Navy, must find a way to locate the weapon before it is deployed again. Along the way, they must stop a Chinese Admiral who plans on seizing control of an independent Taiwan. Neill’s squad is aided by a mysterious informant, but is he baiting them into a trap?

Susan's Cronk's 5-star review on Amazon:

on June 19, 2015

Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Tempest of Fire, the second book in the Michael Neill adventure series, is a terrific and exciting read. The nail biting starts in Chapter One and doesn't let up until the final page. There's something new around every corner, or perhaps, due to its nautical leanings, "rolling in on each new wave" would be a better description.

The main character, Lt. Michael Neill, remains a strong, central focus in the book. The author stays true to the nature, beliefs, and thought processes of his main character from the first book, Red Sky at Morning. There are no wild character shifts to wonder about, but he does give readers a bit deeper look into Lt. Neill’s nature. In this story the author has teamed Lt. Neill up with three other very likable, talented, and creative characters, Senior Chief Petty Officer Malcolm Richey, Lt. Junior Grade Simon Chau, and Lt. Norman Crockett. I sincerely hope the author will bring this team together for future missions. They compliment each other.

Together, these men are tasked with finding out what mysterious weapon lurks in the dangerous depths of the waters surrounding a territory claimed by the Chinese. They are lulled into a false sense of safety, only to have it shattered.

The technological aspects that Mr. Wilson has incorporated into Tempest of Fire are a feast for the imagination. They paint a vivid picture for the reader as the action at sea ramps up well into the story. The dialog is engaging and not overworked. The author has avoided the pitfalls of other stories in the genre -- giving their hero or heroes more to do than is humanly possible. Lt. Neill and his team have one central mission. Of course, there can always be ripple effects, and that's where the supporting cast of characters takes up the challenge of bringing the story to an interesting and unexpected conclusion.

Tempest of Fire is a great story. It is well worth an investment of a reader's time.


In Central Europe, Poland has rejected plans for an anti-missile shield—until a threat from beyond their borders causes disaster. During testing, an Iranian ICBM veers off course with tragic results, and the Polish government turns to NATO—and the United States—for protection. With the defensive shield now back on the table, National Security Advisor Willis Avery envisions an even broader network of emplacements. His strategy depends on the cooperation of the breakaway states—and the help of Captain Michael Neill. Tasked as a liaison, it’s Neill’s job to convince the republics. He enlists the aid of an old friend, General Andrei Ulyanov—and if he can keep her alive, dynamic and beautiful journalist Viktoriya Gavrilenko. The stage is set for increased tension when the Russians threaten an arms race. Avery is targeted, and along the way, Neill becomes caught up in the search for a lost religious icon, foretold by legend to restore the faith of a disheartened people . . .

An Amazon Review that is very positive and favourable:

on June 19, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Trinity Icon is the latest offering in the Michael Neill adventure series penned by author Steve Wilson. In his third novel, the author has reinvested several robust characters from Tempest of Fire, particularly his main character, newly-promoted Captain Michael Neill, and Staff Sergeant Christina Arrens, with whom Neill shares a special emotional connection. The author has also added several new and interesting characters, including the main antagonist, Ilya Nikolayevich Maersk, an ominous ghost-like figure that lurks in the background until his particular brand of lethality is necessary to the story.

The author opens this storyline in Olm, Poland in the year 1655, when a valuable religious icon goes missing. Its absence and its importance lay the groundwork for a 300-plus-year-old legend that it aching to be fulfilled. Captain Michael Neill unknowingly steps into the middle of the legend as he works with emissaries from America and allied Eastern European nations to bring about an important military treaty that will help secure Poland’s borders and enhance the security of American and allied interests. There are several points where the author ramps up the action just enough to keep readers focused on the danger and uncertainty the characters must contend with, as well as the evil aspirations of other factions at work to keep the treaty from becoming reality.

The disparities in purpose of politics and religion often create unique conflicts that are ripe and ready for picking by a good storyteller. Steve Wilson is that storyteller. Even though the events are purely fictional conflicts of his own creation it is not hard to imagine them a part of today’s reality. Trinity Icon will not disappoint returning readers of the Michael Neill adventure series, and it will likely win the author a host of new followers. Readers should be aware that the author builds the story carefully over the first three chapters, weaving in some background story to reorient readers of his first two books and provide a solid foundation for new followers picking up this third book first. That background helps to round out the overall story base and explains Neill’s relationships with the returning characters, particularly Arrens, without wandering too deep into the backstory. More time is spent in this book on developing Neill and Arrens’ relationship. While each of Wilson’s books can be read independently of the other, I would encourage readers not to miss the first two books in the adventure series. Michael Neill and his compatriots are worth spending time with.

See all verified purchase reviews

Two scientists. One wants to live.The other—simply to die.

Summer, 1985; In the cold waters near Kamchatka, an incoherent, injured man—the lone survivor of catastrophe—is found adrift, and a Soviet naval officer is faced with a mystery, one that will echo into the future. In the present, planes have been knocked from the sky, victims of some unknown device, and near the Aleutian Islands, a relic from Russia’s past is found hidden beneath the waves. Is there some connection between these seemingly unrelated events? Marine Captain Michael Neill believes there is, and with scout sniper Nathan Crockett and Australian scientist Taylor Brisbane at his side, he sets off to defeat a new weapon—resurrected from the cold arsenals of the Soviet empire—to remove the veil of secrecy, and confront the EYE OF CHARYBDIS!

Two Amazon Reviews are very positive and favourable:

Format: Paperback

Marine Corps Captain Michael Neill and his team are on a quest to find answers in the mysterious case of a commercial airliner which went down with all its passengers still on board. Meanwhile, in a possible related mission, they set out to find a tactical aerial weapon believed to be hidden off the coast of Russia. Their goal is to covertly seek and destroy this enigmatic vessel. Working together with a highly sophisticated team of men and women, united in their efforts to carry out this clandestine mission, they soon find themselves at the mercy of other team players in an internationally driven game of politics. Neill relies on personal experience, the skill and wisdom of his team-members, and ultimately that of his faith.

Author Steve Wilson is a fluid and articulate storyteller whose background in military matters contributes to his ability to paint vivid pictures with scenes that spring to life. He seems to possess an innate ability to dummy things down just enough that even the most non-technical person can still understand and enjoy each thrilling, fast-paced moment of this novel. Wilson’s Eye of Charybdis is highly recommended.

on May 29, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The fourth book in the series was great! The detail in the action sequences kept me going page after page. You don't have to have read the previous three books to enjoy this, but they're equally fun books, so read them anyways.

I asked Steve why he wrote The Michael Neill series and here is his reply:

The series explores the dynamics of faith in uniform, which is often absent from books of the same kind. They have a broad appeal; there’s action, military hardware, strong core values, and even a little romance. A lot of my best reviews have come from readers with no military background at all. Neill’s adventures will hold the interest of young and old, and will encourage readers to value patriotism and embrace honor and integrity.”

In my day job, I'm a multimedia designer and have worked in advertising for over 25 years. I served in the Marines during the 1980s, and I'm now a senior NCO in the Air Force Reserve, deploying to Kuwait, Iraq, and Afghanistan, in addition to tours in the United States, Germany, and the Pacific. I've also visited the former Soviet Union several times. 

I've read a lot of the biggest names in the thriller genre, and I like to think my books are different. Many authors don't realize how important faith is to members of our military, especially those deployed to the war zone. The protagonists in The Michael Neill Adventures are men of faith, and while they live out their religion, the books aren't preachy.

I've tried to portray my characters as real people relying on God to guide their decisions. And I've also attempted to make the books character-driven. I stay true to the technology mentioned in the story, but without getting bogged down in the details.

In relation to his newest release, Eye Of Charybdis, he states, 

Honor. Courage. Commitment. On a spiritual level, the importance of Grace, and how God sometimes shields those with an uninformed faith, until the time is ripe for their redemption. 

The book also touches on the concept of good confronting evil—sometimes in brutal but necessary ways. Measured against the tactics of ruthless men, are Christians prepared to return force with force, to respond to evil in like manner?

Steve has kindly provided an excerpt from the Eye of Charybdis to whet your appetite and the reason he chose this: 

The longer excerpt follows a common theme in the series; a hint of mystery, hinting at a historical or technological link to the past; Neill puzzling it out, gathering information; the presence of a beautiful woman who faces potential danger, but gives as good as she gets. 

The shorter excerpt is simply an action sequence, one of many throughout the book. Aerial dogfights, attacks at sea, the threat of an unknown sea monster, an assassin's bullet—these and many more that make up 'Eye of Charybdis.'

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Start of Excerpt~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

They flew straight and level for the next hour. The cargo deck had turned frigid, and the group donned gloves and cold weather gear. Dr Brisbane’s condition improved with the drop in temperature. Soon she was talking with Captain Neill and the others after one last trip to the ‘honey pot’.

“That was embarrassing.” Her tone was subdued, her face pale, and she clutched a pack of disinfectant wipes. “I don’t normally get airsick.”

“These cargo planes aren’t known for their creature comforts, Doc,” Mike allowed. 

Brisbane’s head went from left to right. “You mean this isn’t a seven-four-seven?” 

“That’s good, Doc,” Neill chuckled. “So you do have a sense of humor.”

“Bailee says I should try harder.” 

It’s a start, Neill decided. “Just hang tough. We’ll be landing on the island of Attu before you know it.”

“And then?”

“The Coasties have choppers. We’ll hitch a ride with them out to the Meyer.” 

“A helicopter?” Taylor’s eyes widened.

Bailee crowded in. “Ooh, never rode on one of those before,” the young woman gushed. She was enthused, but Taylor wore an alarmed expression. Mike saw the scientist’s look and tried to change the subject. 

“What got you started on those Schumann Resonances—audio impulses—whatever.” His question earned a laugh. 

“Ever hear of the Vela Incident?” Brisbane asked.

Russo withdrew. She’d heard this tale before. Neill shook his head. “Can’t say that I have.”

“In 1979, a Vela satellite detected an anomaly over the Indian Ocean—an atmospheric double-flash, characteristic of a nuclear detonation.” 

Neill had a questioning look. “ ‘Characteristic’ of a nuclear detonation. Was it ever confirmed?”

“The data at the time was inconclusive. The blast—if there was one—stirred controversy.” Brisbane took a sip of water. “To this day, no one has claimed responsibility.” 

“And does Dr Taylor Brisbane have any theories?” 

“She does indeed, Captain,” she said with a smile. Her color had returned, and her green eyes flashed. “It’s possible South Africa was involved, but my vote goes to Israel.”


Kritchkov’s slashing attack brought him below the Commissar. From this position, he watched in anger as four of his comrades fell into the sea. 

So the rumors are true, he brooded. Pavlenko’s monster was a decidedly lethal weapon—a weapon that had just downed half of his flight. 

Zhukov was fighting back.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~End of Excerpt~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

You can investigate more of Steve at the following social media sites: 

Steve Wilson Author Website

Amazon Author Page

Readers and reviews are an author's best asset, so I encourage any reader who likes reading in the genres of Christian military and special ops, action and adventure, science fiction and fantasy, to consider reading The Michael Neill Adventures series and submit a review on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest (or any other social media you subscribe to).

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