About the Author
Daniel McKenzie grew up in Rhinelander, WI; a small town in Northern Wisconsin. After leaving the nest he moved to Lexington, KY where he joined the Marine Corps.
Shortly thereafter he moved to Indianapolis, IN where he worked in insurance. After returning home from his first deployment to Iraq he began working as a Ballroom Instructor. He left that job to pursue a career in writing, acting and entrepreneurship.
He has since completed work on his novel Stockholm.
Since the book is now complete, Daniel seeks to raise funds for a publicist and for publishing. He has a publisher ready and waiting.
This project was a labor of love for Daniel. He began writing Stockholm shortly after returning to the States from his first deployment to Iraq. After two and a half years of writing he read the story and felt as though it was one that needed to be shared.
The story of Montague Moore, like the stories of so many veterans, is a tragedy. Monty is no stranger to pain and suffering. While on his various deployments and missions he has seen friends and family killed, his spouse left him while he was in Ramadi, Iraq, and he struggles every day with memories of those he's killed.
His relationship with Shalea is not without taint. Though they are deeply in love, their relationship is plagued with uncertainty from the lack of communication regarding Monty's life in the Marine Corps as well as some of his actions that result from his post traumatic stress disorder.
This project became even more personal to Daniel as he heard tales of Marines who passed away from suicide as a result of the burdens they bore from their times overseas, some of them friends.
He wanted to use this book to spread awareness of the problems veterans face. He wanted people to see that the war isn't just faught on sands, in seas, in mountains, but also in the minds of those who faught long after they return home.
The novel is not about creating anti-war sentiments, but rather aims to create a deeper understanding of the cost of our freedoms.
What We Need & What You Get
We are accepting pre-orders for the first edition of the novel.
By contributing to this campaign, not only can you purchase copies of the book and other Stockholm Memorabilia, but you will be contributing to the charities Stockholm will be supporting.
25% of Daniel's profits from the book will be donated to charities that support the health and recovery of US Veterans.
When this campaign reaches its goal it will have the funds it needs for initial publishing and a deposit on a publicist. $6000 for initial publishing. $7500 for the publicist's deposit. $1500 for fees associated with this campaign and cost of rewards.
If we surpass the goal, we will use that funding for a publicist to spread the word about the novel. Every cent raised will go towards your rewards and the novel.
If we do not reach the goal, no funds will be deducted from your chosen payment method, since this is a fixed budget project.
Other Ways You Can Help
Some people just can’t contribute, but that doesn’t mean you can’t help:
Please share the link to theis campaign on your social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or even on your blog.
Please utilize the IndieGoGo Share Tools To Spread The Word!
And that’s all there is to it.
Synopsis With Spoilers - Skip Below For Synopsis Without Spoilers
Stockholm begins with Ryan Coulson in Iraq during what is commonly referred to amongst service members as “The Invasion” during Operation Iraqi Freedom. In the first chapter he receives a letter from his wife stating that she is leaving him and witnesses his father’s death.
After exacting revenge on his wife’s paramour, Ryan is recruited into a Marine Corps Special Operations Unit referred to as “The New Corps”. His team in The New Corps run missions under the code name “Project Zeus”.
In the middle of the story Ryan goes by the pseudonym “Nemesis”. His team mates and himself complete secret missions, assassinating whomever the government assigns. In addition to these missions, they are each tasked with “Vendetta Killings” where each team member leads their own mission of retribution against a terrorist related to their own past experience. Nemesis recounts these experiences in the present day under his new name, Montague Moore, or Monty Moore, through dreams, journals and memory.
While he is dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from his experiences in the Marine Corps, Monty falls in love with Shalea Sunde, a beautiful girl he meets at a college book store. There relationship quickly grows and almost ends when Monty attempts to kill her in his sleep while he dreams about a past mission in Iraq. Thanks to the understanding of Shalea’s father, the two reconcile and eventually marry.
I don't want to spoil the ending for you by including the full synopsis, but I will say the story is a tragedy and ends with food for thought. The afterword leaves the story open for a sequel, but probably not in the way you'd expect.
Synopsis - Without Major Spoilers
Ryan Coulson, Nemesis and Monty Moore are all progressions of the same man.
Our story begins with Corporal of Marines Ryan Coulson in Iraq receiving a "Dear John" letter from his wife and later witnessing his father's, Major General Coulson's, death.
After returning home, Coulson acts out his vengeance on the man his wife left him for in a calculated way and is later recruited to a Special Operations group of Marines that specialize in military assassinations. The stories of these missions are recalled through Monty Moore's dreams, journal and memories as he struggles to deal with them upon his return to civilian life.
He meets and falls in love with Shalea Sunde. His issues with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder cause problems and the story of how they work through it is told in a present day timeline.
There is a major plot twist at the end and the way the novel is left open for a sequel is unexpected.
Excerpts From The Novel
From Chapter 15 - Nemesis
Monty could smell burning sulfur and he could feel the flames engulf his entire body. There was no light. He could feel the grinding and gnashing of his teeth, but he couldn’t grind them to the gum. He could feel them regenerating as fast as they wore away. He pulled burnt skin from his flesh over and over only to find a fresh layer waiting to be scorched every time. It felt like there was a hole in his stomach, but when he felt to see how much was he was missing, my hand found flesh. He was naked, but he was whole, yet he felt as though he was only half there.
He heard the sound of hounds drawing near. Their growls slowing getting louder, but echoing like he was in a deep cave. He couldn’t tell if they were three feet away or three miles. He felt their claws slash at his face. He felt their teeth sink into his bone.
As quickly as the dogs came, the dream slipped away and the pain began to subside. In an instant the sun shone down on clouds beneath and he lost his breath as he began a free fall. He could see below him the Caucasus growing larger and larger.
He knew this was a dream. If he wanted to he could fly, couldn’t he? He turned around and tried. He saw that he had mechanical wings attached to his arms, but he must have been too close to the sun, because whatever held the feathers began to melt away and he continued his free fall. He reached in the air for some rope floating in the sky, but none came. He tried to imagine himself in a blue shirt and red cape flying away, but his fear grew as flight never came.
He panicked as Caucusus grew larger and larger and his fall ended with a crushing of bone on the rocks below. He laid on his back and when the pain of all his broken bones began to register he felt chains around his wrists. They tightened and the chains became taught. They pulled his broken arms and legs.
Then he heard it. The screech of an eagle. He squinted and saw the bird in the distance flying closer. It drew nigh and Monty knew what it wanted.
The eagle perched at his feet. It turned its head and Monty glared into the bird’s eye just waiting for the torture to come. Finally, the bird’s beak came down puncturing his gut. The eagle pecked over and over, disemboweling Monty until it found his liver. The eagle threw the liver into the air, threw his head back and caught it in his mouth. It pecked at Monty a couple more times, then it turned and flew off.
Monty closed his eyes and took in the blistering sun as it burnt his skin. He could feel blisters growing as a new liver took the place of the old, as his abdomen slowly rewove itself, as the skin slowly stretched over the exposed muscle and organs.
He heard a voice so familiar, but unrecognizable. In the light that shown through his eyelids he could make out a face. It couldn’t be any other face? It had to be that God forsaken face?!
Excerpt from Chapter 14 - Dancing Under The Stars
Somehow the fates had given them a perfect summer day. There was just the right amount of cloud cover. It was seventy five degrees with just a slight breeze. It was Shalea and Monty’s one year anniversary.
They started the day at the museum and took a walk through the gardens. Monty brought his camera and they took a lot of pictures. They did some funny poses. She played the role of his model. Some passersby took pictures of them together. The gardens went through a wooded area. Every bit of flora was labeled and there was a large variety of flowers, shrubberies and trees.
After visiting the gardens they went to the One Hundred Acres Art Park. There they enjoyed the variety of misshapen benches. Monty still didn’t get why people called them art, but Shalea enjoyed that kind of thing and they goofed off on them. They went bird watching from a guard shack on the lake. They played “HORSE” on the free basket course. After that they went for a picnic dinner in the center of a large field near Lilly House. Monty packed sandwiches, chips and wine.They talked and laughed. They lied down and watched the clouds telling each other what they we shaped like. After a bit the wind picked up some and they flew kites. They even had a kite fight.
When the sun began to set they headed back to the Eden II and watched the sunset from the lake. Monty rented a boat and Shalea relaxed as he anchored in the center of the water. Monty had seen sunsets in dozens of countries, in different climates and seasons, but this was the best one he’d ever seen. He’d watched the sunset from beaches in Spain, Cuba and Ecuador, but he’d never seen one like the sunset that night. Every time he’d had a chance to watch the sunset overseas it was always on mission and he never had the opportunity to soak it in and enjoy it. That night they cuddled close under the blanket they shared and just watched. It was one of many perfect moments that day.
Monty’s father always told him that you’ve found the woman you should spend the rest of your life with when you can sit together in silence and be comfortable with it. Monty wasn’t just comfortable. He enjoyed every minute of it. He thought he’d be nervous because of what he had in store for the night, but he felt calm as a mountain lake.
When the sunset was at its most colorful he kissed her and rowed to shore. “Ready to go back home?” she asked.
“Not yet. I want to make sure you have the best night ever.” Monty said with a smile on his face.
“It already has been.” Shalea said with a look of serenity.
“Well, it’s going to get better.” Monty said with a smile on his face.
“What are we doing next?” She was getting curious now.
“That’s a surprise.”
They went back to Monty’s blue Camero Z28. He could see her getting excited and a little nervous. He talked to her like it wasn’t a big deal.
“When do you think the Superbowl will be here again?”
“Are you taking me to the stadium?”
“No, why would I take you there? I’m just making conversation.”
When they got downtown Monty parked on the side of the road on Virginia Street.
“Put this on your eyes.” Monty said handing her a bandana.
“Are you serious?” she laughed.
“I know, it looks a little creepy. I’m not going to do anything crazy. I just want you to be surprised. I don’t want you to know where you are when we get there.”
“Are we going someplace no one can hear my screams?” She mused.
“No, someplace you’ll enjoy a lot more.” Monty laughed.
She tied the bandana over her eyes. After Monty checked to see if she could see out of it he drove around for about ten minutes through downtown. “How far is the place?” Shalea jested.
“Closer than you’d think.”
Monty parked in front of the Indiana Repertory Theatre and walked her in the front doors of the theatre and to the elevator. They took the elevator to the Indiana Roof. He had rented the facility for them for the evening. The room imitated a small European village with stucco facades and red-tiled roofs over the balconies of the second story mezzanine that surrounded the ballroom floor. The ballroom floor had a thirty foot ceiling behind the balcony that portrayed a starry blue night sky with a glistening crescent moon. There was one table on the edge of the ballroom. Monty signaled a string quartet to begin playing. Shalea had a huge smile on her face. She was nervous, but thrilled. Monty pulled out a chair for her and untied her bandana as their song played, Grenade by Bruno Mars. She gasped in surprise.
In front of her on the table were her favorite deserts. Fried ice cream, rice pudding and baklava. There was a chilled glass of champagne, which Monty opened and poured their drinks. In the center of the table there was a covered silver tray. He took the napkin from her plate and flicked it open then gently placed it on her lap. He went to take his seat across from her.
They looked into each other’s eyes for a few minutes and Monty smiled. “Are you going to eat your desert?” he asked.
“Oh! Yes, of course. I…I just can’t believe all of this. It’s perfect, Ryan.” She knew Monty liked it when she called him that name. There’s something different about the name you’re born with than the name you give yourself. Living using different names can leave you disillusioned. Sometimes he didn’t know if he was Ryan, Nemesis or Monty. When he was with Shalea, he felt like Ryan and that’s who he wanted to be.
“Shalea, I love you more than I could ever explain. I’ll never forget the day we met at the bookstore. It was the best day of my life. Ever since that day you’ve brought out the best in me and reminded me of who I was and who I could be.”
“Ryan, you bring out the best in me, too.”
“I’m glad. Somehow, God saw fit to give me a second chance at life and he did that when He put you in my life. I want to tell you something. Then I want to ask you something.”
“OK. But now you’re making me nervous.” She said quizzically.