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

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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

The opening scene in Pirate, the first book in the Tides of Fortune series has my main character, Nick about to help the legendary pirate Gasparilla distribute the shares of his infamous treasure to his crew before “retiring”. One last prize lures him away, but it is a ruse by the US Navy and their pirate-hunting schooner USS Enterprise. They have set a trap that ends in the sinking of the Floridablanca and his death.

The treasure has never been found

Legendary is the perfect word for describing Jose’ Gaspar—there is no documented evidence that he ever lived. No writings or artifacts of his existence appear before early 1900s. Now the Gulf Coast based buccaneer has been made larger than life, celebrated through Ye Mytic Crewe. Based in Tampa, the Crewe sponsors a yearly tribute and invasion of the city in a Mardi gras style party.

The legend starts with his birth in 1756. After serving in the Spanish Navy, he became a councilor to King Charles III. That is when the trouble started. Popular in court, he had a reputation for playing the field. The story continues when a jilted lover levied false charges against him forcing him to commandeer a ship, vowing to exact revenge on his country. From his base along the yet unsettled west coast of Florida, he raided the Spanish purportedly amassing a huge treasure.

To promote the new railroad and Boca Grande Hotel, the Charlotte Harbor and Northern Railroad Company published the first account of Gasparilla in a 1900 advertising brochure. To add some glamour to the area they claimed many of the islands on the southwest coast are named by him. Gasparilla Island was his headquarters, Captiva Island was where he kept his women captive and Useppa Island was where he buried the body of a princess he had captured. Sanibel island was named by his first mate, Rodrigo Lopez after his lover he had left in Spain and

Taken from the legend, Pirate finds several men guarding the treasure on the beach. After watching the Floridablanca sink and Gasparilla dive from the bow with the anchor, they took off with the treasure. Follow Nick and the gang as they escape the Navy, heading deep into the unknown interior of Florida, and follow the Everglades to the Keys and what they think is their freedom.

Only $0.99 today

The once pristine Everglades are riddled with man-made features. Many were used in my latest book: Wood’s Revenge. Both testing stations and the maze of dredged canals criss-crossing the River of Grass are used for locations and in the development of the premise for the book.
Testing stations monitored by the Florida Coastal Everglades LTER (Long term ecological research network) were established by the National Science Foundation in 1980. Their purpose is to monitor the water quality and flow from Shark River and Taylor Slough, two of the Everglades’s primary drainages. The Taylor Slough testing sites labeled TS/ph(#) are the ones Mac used to track down the source of the polluted water in Revenge. Starting out in Florida Bay by Sprigger Bank, TS/ph11, about thirty miles from Wood’s island, was the site where Mac found the wreck. He followed the string of test sites until they found themselves entering canal C111 otherwise known as the Aerojet Canal, built in the 1960s to move rocket engines to the now abandoned Aerojet facility. You can see all the locations and track his route on the map here.
The development of the Everglades and subsequently the canals were started after the Civil War by a developer named Hamilton Diston and continued through the late 1900s. With the original goal of draining the Everglades to create agricultural land, property values soon increased from 25 cents to five dollars per acre in the late 1800s making the land more viable for development. The lack of proper planning resulted in catostrophic flooding of many of the newly developed cities in the early 1900s, causing the Army Corp of Engineers to step in and construct the Herbert Hoover Dyke around Lake Okeechobee. More flooding and the population boom following World War II resulted in many of the canals and floodgates we still see and use today.
In all there are over a thousand miles of man-made dredged canals running like highways through the sawgrass. In 1948, a hundred mile canal and berm located at the western edge of Palm Beach and Broward counties was built. Know as C-38, this is the canal that Mac uses to reach Clewiston, home of the fictional Dusharde Sugar.
These dykes, berms, and canals altered the Everglades, forcing most of the water from the Kissimmee drainage and Lake Okeechobee to be rerouted to the east and west coasts. Rather than allowing the water to flow naturally, using the Everglades as a filter system before bringing the water to Florida Bay, the fertilizer laden water reaches the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean. The result of this are fish kills and red tides as well as an increase in the salinity of Florida Bay.