We should complete our move to Tampa by the end of the month. I’m very excited about getting back to Florida after being in California for the last 17 years. I was based out of Tampa from 1985-2000 and still have some good friends there.

Many thanks to all of you who sent suggestions for boat names. I have decided on Reef Runner for Mac’s center console and my Parker 21. Mac’s Trawler will be named Ghost Runner. There will be a scene where one of the recurring characters names them in the next Mac Travis Adventure. Any guesses who that might be? There will also be an appearance by the winners of the contest: Rusty Faulkenberry and David Culbreath in the book. I hope to be down in the Keys in January and will get the name on my Parker.

The Keys are recovering from Hurricane Irma but still need your help. Please check out this fundraiser set up by fellow author John Cunningham. Wayne Stinnett and several other familiar authors including myself are all part of this: https://www.gofundme.com/Writers-for-Keys-Hurricane-Relief. Many of you have written and messaged me in the last few weeks about  either how Mac and the other characters in the series would have fared in and after the storm and if I would write a book about their experience.

This is the second hurricane that has affected me. I went through Andrew in 1992 and we have a vacation rental in Marathon. About ten days after the storm, we went down to check on it and found we were very fortunate. The house is new construction and came through well.

Several readers have emailed me asking if I have a book in mind about the storm. I have both experienced myself and seen firsthand the emotional toll these storms can take on people. I would never want anyone reading my work to have to experience this rollercoaster of emotions again. With this in mind, I have decided not to write about this storm directly. I will, probably in the next Mac Travis Adventure, use a fictitious storm to work in some of the ideas I got from our visit and watching The Weather Channel and my Facebook feed non-stop for a week.

I would guess that Mac and Mel’s house on the island would have survived the storm. It was rebuilt by Mac on concrete pilings. The island would most certainly have been under several feet of water from the storm surge, but the water would not have reached the main floor.  Everything else on the island would be gone. We can only hope that Mac and Mel got out in time.

Remember Kurt Hunter, the ranger from Biscayne National Park from Wood’s Betrayal? He will be the lead character in Backwater Bay. Look for it in early January.

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I’m proud to tell you all that I’ve teamed up with lots of other writers whose books are based in Florida to form the “Writers for Keys” Hurricane Relief.

Please visit our gofundme project and donate what you can – we have.

We write books and songs that take place in Florida and the Florida Keys because like our readers, we love it there. We love the tropical islands, the water and the unique people. Hurricane Irma hit the Keys hard , a brutal blow that left many homeless. We want to help. We’re asking you to help too.

We partnered with the Navy League Key West Council because 100% of donations we raise will go directly to the victims that need our help. The Navy League Key West Council is based there and will be contributing to other non-profits with boots on the ground, who are actively making an impact. Organizations like Task Force Dagger and Star of the Sea (SOS) have been providing labor, supplies, shelter, food, water and other forms of relief to the people on the ground.

FIND OUT MORE BY VISITING THE GOFUNDME PROJECT PAGE

Mac Travis Adventures: Book Eight

“Action & Adventure In The Florida Keys from the #1 Sea Adventure Series”

Policy changes can have unintended consequences—and they can be deadly

It’s easy to stay invisible in the Florida Keys. and Mac Travis is doing his best when a simple fishing trip to the Marquesa Keys lands him in the middle of a deadly plot.

When a ruthless shipping magnate returns to his roots and exploits the new Cuban immigration policy, Mac and Trufante are pulled into a life and death struggle, not only for themselves, but those they love.

Wood’s Betrayal is a gripping standalone adventure thriller in Steven Becker’s bestselling Mac Travis series. Centered around South Florida and the Florida Keys, Becker’s books feature plenty of Keys counter-culture along with SCUBA diving, boating and fishing.

Available on Kindle and paperback. Audiobook coming soon.

kindle2  kindle-paperback


DO YOU WANT TO BE IN MAC TRAVIS BOOK 9!?!?

I need suggestions for the name of Mac Travis’s boat which will be used in future books. The winner will also appear as a character in the next Mac Travis book AND have their winning boat name added to my own boat.

To enter go to Facebook and leave your suggestion in the comments section of the contest post (CLICK HERE). You can make multiple suggestions if you wish.

CONTEST ENDS AUGUST 22ND

Beyond Key West

To celebrate the release of book eight in the Mac Travis Adventure series, I’m taking a look at what’s beyond Key West.

Key West is generally known as the end of the line, and hosts the iconic buoy for the Southernmost Point in the continental United States to prove it. The claim is true if you count the bridges that connect the chain of islands as part of the contiguous landmass, but the Florida Keys don’t end on the corner of Whitehead and South Street. The chain of islands extend another seventy miles, ending in the Dry Tortugas known for its landmark, Fort Jefferson.

Mac Travis hasn’t made it to the Tortugas yet, at least in the first eight books, but he spends some time in the Marquesas Keys in Wood’s Betrayal.

Head west from Key West, and after you cross the Northwest Channel, you would pass several uninhabited Keys known as the Mule Keys. Man, Woman, and Boca Grande Keys were all featured in Wood’s Wreck. Just past them and twenty-five miles from Key West is a small horseshoe shaped group of islands know as the Marquesas Keys.

The four mile diameter group of islands has as its centerpiece a two-mile wide lagoon created by a meteor strike. Mooney Harbor is frequented by cruisers for its protected anchorage. The Marquesas Keys are also known for fishing, both on the surrounding flats and the nearby Gulf Stream. It is here that Mac and Trufante come looking for Dolphin and run into another kind of trouble.

The location of the Marquesas is also a prime landing spot for refugee boats coming from Cuba attempting to make landfall in the United States. Many derelict rafts and boats are abandoned there each year, forcing Monroe County and the Coast Guard to pay for their removal. With a hold full of fish, can Mac resist the lure of an easy payday towing one of these boats back to Key West?

Look for the new Mac Travis Adventure Thriller – Wood’s Betrayal. I’m just finishing the first draft and expect to have the book released in mid July. After that, I plan to start writing the fourth Tides of Fortune book. Looks like the crew is going to Mexico and maybe crossing into the Pacific. We’ve got some travel plans in the fall, so the Storms may have an adventure coming soon in Italy.
Several of my readers have commented about the ties to characters and locations between my series. I’ve had fun including my characters as well as some of my friend Wayne Stinnetts. The Rusty Anchor, Jesse, and Rusty have made appearances in the last few Mac Travis books. Mac and Trufante have appeared in several of Wayne’s as well.
For my own series, the Brakens started out in Wood’s Relic and reappeared several years later in Bonefish Blues. Alicia was introduced in Wood’s Reach. She and TJ now have a larger role The Storm series. Mac had a brief cameo in Storm Force as well. There is also a trail of breadcrumbs from the first Tides of Fortune book: Pirate to Wood’s Island. I haven’t worked this in yet, but it’s too good to ignore.
Thank you all for your support of Storm Force. The second book in the series has been charting high and has very positive reviews.

The Storm Thriller series is a way for me to include some locations outside of Florida, where the Mac Travis Adventures series takes place. The first book, Storm Rising, is set in London and the British Virgin Islands. Storm Force starts in Chicago and moves to Hawaii. We’ve got a bicycle trip to Italy coming up this fall, so look for the next Storm book to have some locations from Rome and Sicily.

Storm Force is mainly set on the Big Island in Hawaii. Many of the locations used are from my own explorations of the island. Here’s a quick guide and map:

  • Kona – The main tourist city on the island’s west coast. A few years ago we did a diving trip with Kona Diving Company. Very different from the Florida Keys, where we typically dive. The water is cleared and the formations different. We did several dives through lava tubes and arches. We also paddled with the Waikoloa Canoe Club. Last September we were back for the Queen Liliuokalani Canoe Race.
  • Kealakekua Bay – Also known as Cook’s Bay, this great snorkeling spot is down the coast from Kona. This is where the Discovery first made landfall in Hawaii. There is a statue of Captain Cook toward the northern end of the bay.
  • Kaumana Caves – Located outside of Hilo, this county park contains a great lava tube. We found this to be more interesting and way less crowded than the more famous Thurston Tube in Volcano National Park
  • Kalapana – The city was over run by lava in the 90s and the area is still active. This is also the site of the famous black sand beach wiped out in the same lava flow, but now regenerating. A sign posted on the trail to the beach claiming the area to be protected by war crime pillaging started my research into the indigenous claims for sovereignty.
  • Uncle Robert’s Market and Awa Bar – The only way to describe this is like going to a Grateful Dead concert without the Dead. Beyond eclectic, the market has great music, food, and crafts and is only open on Wednesday nights.

The Big Island of Hawaii is the main setting for Storm Force, the second book in the Storm Thriller Series. I’ve made several trips to the Big Island in the last few years: one with family, and the other to paddle in the Queen Liliuokalani outrigger canoe race. The settings in the books are the result of our explorations of the island (Check out the map here). As unique and fascinating as the island is, I was having a hard time finding a premise until I saw an article in the Daily Alta California from December 15, 1884:

PIRACY

Honolulu Captured and Sacked by an Armed Force

The most audacious Piratical Raid on Record

No Attempt at Resistance

Over Three Million in coin and plate carried off.

Got your attention—it got mine. After further research, I learned that the pirates held the city overnight, and without violence looted the town. A search was mounted, but neither the buccaneers or the treasure was found.

So, where did it go?

A couple of natural phenomena came into play: lava and hurricanes.

The Big Island, especially the southeast shore has a continuously changing landscape due to Kilauea, the centerpiece of Volcano National Park. Over the past three hundred years, the volcano has been active. As a result of the continuing flows, the present day coastline is different than it was in 1884 when the raid took place.

Two hurricanes bore down on the island last September when we were there for the race. Fortunately, the 13,000-foot volcano protected Kona, where we were staying, but the southeast shore took a beating—the same shore with tons of lava pouring into the ocean every minute. What if the buccaneers put into one of these bays after escaping Honolulu on their way to the mainland. Could a storm have not only held a ship captive but blown it into a lee shore and lava flow, where it is still buried today?

Storm Force – OUT NOW!

The second book in the Storm Thriller series is now available to buy from amazon. It will stay at the special launch price of just $2.99, but only for 48 hours, after which it will increase to $4.99. So, take advantage of this special price while you can!

A forgotten treasure controls the fate of an island paradise

The future of Hawaii is at stake after a rare chart from Captain Cook’s third voyage of discovery is stolen placing John and Mako Storm directly in the path of a powerful Japanese businessman with his own plans for the islands. Along with two beautiful women, the father and son must put aside their differences, and fight the most powerful force in nature to stop the rebirth of the last Shogunate and save more than just the islands.

Storm Force is a gripping standalone adventure thriller from bestselling author, Steven Becker. Drawing on its history and centered around the Big Island of Hawaii’s exotic locations, the book features plenty of action, boating, and scuba diving.

Available to download on Kindle. Paperback and Audio Book coming soon.

kindle2

The second book in the Storm Thriller series is now available to pre-order from amazon. It will be released on May 11th at the special price of just $2.99. But this release price only lasts 48 hours, after which it will increase to $4.99. So, take advantage of this special price while you can!

A forgotten treasure controls the fate of an island paradise

The future of Hawaii is at stake after a rare chart from Captain Cook’s third voyage of discovery is stolen placing John and Mako Storm directly in the path of a powerful Japanese businessman with his own plans for the islands. Along with two beautiful women, the father and son must put aside their differences, and fight the most powerful force in nature to stop the rebirth of the last Shogunate and save more than just the islands.

Storm Force is a gripping standalone adventure thriller from bestselling author, Steven Becker. Drawing on its history and centered around the Big Island of Hawaii’s exotic locations, the book features plenty of action, boating, and scuba diving.

Available to pre-order on Kindle. Paperback and Audio Book coming soon.

kindle2

Writing Update

Hi Guys,

The big news is that Storm Force, the second book in the Storm Series will be released in a few weeks. The manuscript is with my editor now and I’ll give a firm release date when I get it back. As usual, the book will be discounted for the first few days of release, so keep your eyes open. Mainly set on the Big Island in Hawaii, the locations are as cool as the island. Here’s a link to a map.

I want to thank everyone for your support of Wood’s Revenge. The book is still doing well and the reviews are excellent. The book is available in kindle, paperback  and the audio book, narrated by Paul McSorley was released earlier this month. If you enjoyed the book, please leave a review here.

After spending two weeks in Marathon, I have all kinds of ideas for the next Mac Travis Adventure. I should be starting on the book in the next few weeks and am hoping for an early summer release. Stock Island, outside Key West is likely to be featured. Check out these boats at a marina there—gotta be great stories there.

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Wayne Stinnett and I have been friends since our first books were released only weeks apart in 2013. The coincidence of having Wood and Jesse’s islands less than two miles apart was not lost on us. Since then we have shared characters and locations. Mac and Trufante make a few cameo appearances in his new book Fallen Hero. Jesse makes an appearance in Wood’s Reach and several scenes in Wood’s Revenge feature The Rusty Anchor. Wayne has just released Reckless Charity. Another good read from a good friend.

Have a great day,

Steve