Thursday, July 31, 2008

Interview with Karl Anthony Francis

Interview with Karl Anthony Francis for Kendall Publication

Crystal: Hello Karl, I just finished reading your newest book, Deadly Consequences. What would you say was your hardest part during the writing of this novel?

Karl Anthony Francis: Dedicating myself each and every night to write at least one page, and keeping track of the different characters names, habits and personalities.

Crystal: Was it difficult to get all of the correct street names and places to match up in your story?

Karl Anthony Francis: Not at all because these are places that I’m actually familiar with.

Crystal: Obviously, Dante aka Black was the main character, but which one of all of the characters in your book was your favorite and why?

Karl Anthony Francis: I would have to say Maria because she did things her way despite Dante’s domineering and controlling ways. Other than Dante and Trigga, Maria was the only character who displayed her independence and spoke up. I love her.

Crystal: What are you planning on as far as future writing projects?

Karl Anthony Francis: I recently completed Fair Game and its sequel Changing The Game. I’m now working on Cruel Shame and From Kingston To New York, a true story. I guess I’ll continue to write because it’s something that I love to do.

Crystal: How long have you been writing professionally?

Karl Anthony Francis: Since 2002.

Crystal: What do your friends and family say about your books after reading them?

Karl Anthony Francis: lol! They all say that I have a fascinating imagination.

Crystal: How can readers contact you or purchase your books?

Karl Anthony Francis: I can be contacted at 718 724-3766 or email me at They can purchase books through,, and

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Time Well Wasted, The Story of 1st Platoon 10th MP Co. in Somalia *Book Giveaway*

This interview is with the three men that put together all of their memories and shenanigans to form the book, Time Well Wasted, The Story of 1st Platoon 10th MP Co. in Somalia. This is an amazing book, right now it is up for pre-order on the Kendall Publication website.

** If you would like to win a copy of Time Well Wasted, just leave a comment with your email address and we will randomly choose a winner on Saturday June 14. Two copies will be given away of this amazing book so make sure to comment for your chance to win! **

Crystal: The time period for , Time Well Wasted, The Story of 1st Platoon 10th MP Co. in Somalia was the early 1990’s, that would make you how old when you joined the Army?

DS Haines: I was 18, right out of high school.

T. Ciccone: I joined the Army when I was 17 or 18 years old. I was about 20 or 21 when we went to Somalia.

LT Worthington: I joined the Army when I was 18. I entered the Army as a private and after being promoted to the rank of E6/SSG I decided to attend college. After 6 years as an enlisted soldier I then went through the ROTC program at Western Michigan University where I was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant. Becoming an officer was the easiest thing I had ever done in the Army. NCO school in Bad Tolz Germany was much harder.

Crystal: What was the deciding factor that made you choose the Army over the other branches of the Military?

DS Haines: The Army is the only branch where you can pick your job. All the other services guarantee employment but you don’t get to choose your actual MOS (military occupational specialty).

T. Ciccone: Literally, the Air Force recruiter turned me down, the Marine recruiter was never in his office, and the Navy recruiter was way super gay in his little sailor outfit. So by the time I got to the Army recruiter, I didn’t have much choice. My recruiter bought me lunch and gave me a halfway decent line of BS, so I was happy.

LT Worthington: I like the mission of the Army and the responsibility that they gave to the soldiers. When I joined I was looking for discipline and I found it. After being in the Army for a few years I found that it was a way for me to help others build self esteem and gain life skills. Starting off as enlisted gave me insight as to how they felt and what they were going through. I always felt more as a buffer between the soldiers and the bull that came from the top. We were a team and I tried to give everyone their own set of responsibilities. You can’t grow if you’re not given the opportunity to do so. A lot of officers felt if you were a private then you had little to contribute. I found that not to be the case. In the voluntary army you had people from all walks of life and educational backgrounds. Each had a story to tell. As an officer I felt it was my job to help them find their place and put them to work in it.

Crystal: Time Well Wasted is a very serious book, with humor inserted at the most inopportune times. Sometimes you even used humor as revenge, what was the funniest memory that you have?

DS Haines: There are just so many to choose from, the funniest I would say is how I got even with our Battalion Commander.

T. Ciccone: I have two: one, I remember being next in line and actually swapping out the binoculars with the company commander to spy on the Swedish nurses in the jerk off chair of the hummer. Two, someone exposed himself in the main market of Mogadishu and freaked out a bunch of women.

LT Worthington: Waking up everyday to our Platoon Sergeant, SSG Roush in his superman underwear and his wake up call of the most foul gas release you could ever imagine. It just became another one of those things that happened and you get use to it. We all still laugh about it when we get together.

Crystal: What was your main job in Somalia?

DS Haines: I was a gunner. Soldiers hear MP and don’t realize that MP’s have combat missions, like everyone else all they picture is their favorite episode of Cops.

T. Ciccone: I was an M-60 machine gunner. Even though I sat in the turret most of the day waiting to get shot at or blown up, I mostly just broke wind and tried to pass the time.

LT Worthington: We had several jobs. Secure Convoys, escort VIP’s, customs operations, route recons/bridge and road overlays, landing zone security for helicopters, crowds control, quick reaction force and the list goes on and on. We use to joke about being a taxi cab service. Every time some one wanted to move within the zone they would call us to escort their vehicles and get them to their destination safely. Our platoon was actually tasked with escorting the Italian Army over 150 miles to Giallasi. We helped in the planning of the movement. We were deployed from Mogadishu in the North to Kismayo in the South to help the Infantry secure the city and rid the corruption.

Crystal: LT Worthington, What was it like being responsible for the lives of 20 men?

LT Worthington: Obviously it is a responsibility that no one takes lightly. I tried to make all training exercises as real as possible. I would give as much responsibility to the lower enlisted soldiers as I could during this time so that when the real thing happened they would feel more confident in making their own decisions. I had also conducted a family day at work where the wives and children came to work and operated some of the equipment, repelled off towers and fired weapons. I knew that if the families felt more secure in what their husbands/fathers were doing then the stress level would go down for both the soldier and the spouse. Plus it was a lot of fun to see how whoa some of the wife’s were compared to their husbands. I never knew the impact I had on some of these guys until years later when we started getting in touch with each other. They had always had a special place in my heart and it was nice to know that I was in theirs as well.

Crystal: In your journal entries LT Worthington, you began to get frustrated, at what point were you the most angry?

LT Worthington: As a platoon leader for a light infantry Military Police Company you were on your own 99% of the time with no guidance from your senior leadership. On a daily basis you might work for and take orders from upwards of a half a dozen different officers, none of which knew what you did for a living or had any idea of your capabilities. They relied on your reputation and word of mouth as to the way you conducted yourself. The Military Police senior leadership at the time would over extend our 20 man platoon as if we were 150 man company which made it hard to get down time to repair and replenish equipment/supplies. We would come in from one mission and out on another. I had to rely on my Non-Commissioned Officers to take charge. Our senior leadership would frown on this but I had confidence in them that they were trained well enough to work in my absence. We had some sharp soldiers and I was proud to work with each and every one. There was nothing worse then to have to explain yourself to an officer that was of the same branch you were as to your capabilities and missions you performed. At one time they had several MP companies in Mogadishu, each with over 150 soldiers in each and yet the daily missions were still being performed by our 20 man platoon. Prior to Somalia we had just came off a tour in Florida during Hurricane Andrew and a few weeks before that we had just returned from a six month deployment to Egypt. Just weeks prior to that our platoon was the only MP platoon on Fort Drum to participate in the JRTC (Joint Readiness Training Exercise) in Oklahoma which is the Army’s premiere combat readiness exercise facility. So the reputation of the MP’s at Fort Drum was made off the backs of one platoon and then while in Somalia that same platoon was over tasked. To top off my frustration, our Battalion Commander (our MP Senior leadership) tried to give me a letter in my file because of a convoy that took off one hour later than planned. The trucks that we were escorting didn’t arrive until one hour later and some how that was my fault. When he finally tracked me down some 300 miles later, on the complete opposite side of Somalia, in Kismayo where we were conducting Customs Operations for redeployment of troops, on top of assisting the Infantry on clearing the city of bad guys, guarding a small airport where drugs were being delivered daily and assisting the Belgium’s (Again spread thin) but kicking a… he was informed by the General who was heading up the MOUT operation in the area that our platoon was the best he had ever worked with and the knowledge of our soldiers was unsurpassed. He did tear up the letter but stewed about it even after returning back to Fort Drum.

Crystal: LT Worthington, What was your honest opinion of DS Haines and T. Ciccone?

LT Worthington: Both Haines and Ciccone are great guys. They are what they are, with no doubt as to their loyalty or their intentions. Both have blossomed from the soldiers I knew, with slight attitudes, into successful family men who are continuing to take on responsibilities. I would trust my life and the lives of my family with both.

I was a little shocked but very proud to find out that Ciccone had become an attorney after leaving the service. Especially after knowing some of the things I knew about him from our deployments. I had worked with Tony in the Sinai, Florida and Somalia and he was a steady performer throughout the entire time period. I missed not seeing him at our Florida reunion last year but I am looking forward to his personality in Vegas. I am glad he found his way in life and that he was a part of my life.

As far as Dave Haines goes, he is the reason we are doing this. Dave spearheaded getting the guys together and putting this book together. Dave is another one that shocked me. Dave came to the platoon during the Hurricane Andrew deployment to Florida and was with us in Somalia. I later worked with Dave at Fort Eustis on the Special Reaction Team. Dave was a go getter looking for his place in the sun. I think he has found it. Dave has developed into the man most of us wish our sons would grow up and become.

I have fond memories of each and every one in the platoon. Some of the soldiers I had spent several years traveling to different deployments and missions all over the world with. Your really get to know people in that type of situation. When we started doing the reunions I was skeptical but now that we are on our third one they don’t come soon enough.

Crystal: T. Ciccone, How did you first meet DS Haines?

T. Ciccone: Very Funny – Dave put you up to this.
Fine you got it – I think Dave came to our unit in the winter with a couple of other newbies and we were sent to the motor pool to maintain our vehicles. Well maintaining the vehicles was really nothing more than Army lingo / code for go and hide in the motor pool and get out of sight of the command. And on many occasions, this meant that we did nothing more than physically sit in our vehicles (in a large parking lot) for a couple of hours telling each other lies while waiting for something else to do. Anyway, it was a really cold snow driven day and the wind was strong. I decided that to break in the new guys that I would streak up the motor pool on my way to lunch as if it was no big deal. So during the wind driven snow, in my boots, I walked between two lines of Humvees that were facing each other, naked, in 15 degree weather. Welcome to Ft. Drum, home of the 10th Mountain Division and 10th Military Police Company.

The above story might actually be what I did to this other guy Bush and not Haines – I don’t really recall anymore. Too many newbies!

Crystal: Was this your only tour in the Army? How many years of service were you enlisted?

DS Haines: 10 Years total with various deployments and duty assignments that took me all over the world.

T. Ciccone: Yes. 6 years.

LT Worthington: No, this wasn’t my first tour in the Army. I had been enlisted for the first 6 years of my career and was stationed in Germany for 2 1/2 years of that time. Prior to Somalia I had been in Germany, Korea, Panama, Egypt and several state side assignments.

Crystal: What is the first memory that comes to your mind when you reflect on your time spent in Somalia?

DS Haines: The camaraderie of the platoon is the first thing that comes to mind. I have never experienced it at any other assignment like I did with the guys of 1st platoon, 10th MP

T. Ciccone: Literally? Peeing on Snyder’s tire at the airport and he got mad at me. It was 95 degrees and it did smell, but WTF, that is not a good reason to be a hater. Hate the game baby, not the player!

LT Worthington: The destruction and chaos is what I remember the most. The people of Somalia were ruthless toward their own people. When you drove outside the cities into the bush the people seemed less connected to the city and things seemed much more at ease. The cities like Mogadishu and Kismayo were where the trouble existed.

Crystal: What was it like being away from your family?

DS Haines: Family, what family? Mine sucked. I pretty much signed up behind my mothers back and I am pretty sure she thought I would fail. She couldn’t even drag her ass from bed to say good-bye the day I left. What family?

T. Ciccone: I didn’t notice that much – I was married at the time, but I wasn’t really serious about it and neither was she.

LT Worthington: You miss a lot when you are gone. My wife was raising our three boys alone. You worry about what they are doing at the same time trying to write home and keep them from worrying about what you are doing.

Crystal: What did you do to pass time when you were waiting to be moved to another mission?

DS Haines: Mischief mostly. If we were in an area that allowed for some ‘exploration’ I would wander around checking things out. That was how we found the Mig in Baledogle.

T. Ciccone: We sat and played cards and smoked cigarettes. We smoked a lot of cigarettes. At one point after we’d been there for some time, I became oblivious to sleep. I am not sure if I discovered that the traditional 8 hours of sleep was not necessary or I was just so tired that I didn’t need it anymore. I just didn’t have it – even if I could have slept, the officers in charge could not grasp the concept of midnight shift. In other words, if you’re up on patrol from 10:00 pm to 6:00 am, it would be reasonable to assume that you could sleep for a few hours before they start messing with you. But that was not true in the 10th MP Company – here the Colonel was such a tool, he would see that you’re chillin or trying to rest and he would request a bullshit task just so that you would be working. As I digress a little, I always had this fantasy of waking him up in the middle of the night, when I came to life, in a place where it is dark and the only things moving are dangerous, and get his sorry fat butt out on patrol. Not that I am bitter, anyway, so I would nap for an hour or two when I could, but the idea of a getting a good solid 8 hours sleep was for the day shift kiss-up types.

Interestingly, I was deployed to Florida for Hurricane Andrew relief and I worked the midnight shift there too. Well, it was my task to wake up the first sergeant every morning about 5:00 a.m. The first sergeant was a real rip off your head and crap down your neck kind of guy, but he could take a joke and he actually worked, unlike the colonel. Anyway, I used to sneak up to the side of his tent and whisper sweet nothings into his tent like “Wake up sweet cakes!” or “Rise and shine snook’ums!” It was all fun and games too, until about a month into the deployment when he threatened to cut my face off even though I was outside the tent and he was on the inside. The first sergeant got his revenge on me though one day and it was fair and square. We were preparing to deploy back to Ft. Drum from Homestead, Florida. The entire company was working to load our equipment onto trains back to Ft. Drum which included our vehicles. During some commotion, I snuck off to a rest tent area – I have never seen one of these before or after, I think it was only there to impress the press. Well there was an empty cot and I thought I would lay down, just for a couple minutes and rest before going back. The next thing I knew, I was sleeping and snoring away peacefully until this guy was pulling what little hair on my head that I had left while cursing me out, “F****** Ciccone, I told you I would crap (edited) down your neck! I got you now you M***** ******(edited)…” Hahahaha! He caught me sleeping when I was supposed to be working. It was awesome – I did my push ups and took my abuse and moved on. Truth be told, I think the First Sergeant respected me a little for finding a place and taking a break. Not only that, but he scared the hell out of the other soldiers in the “rest tent” – they were all national guard and reserve types. And none of them were used to the rough and tumble of 10th Mountain, the look of shock on their faces alone made it worth it.

LT Worthington: I was always planning new missions and coordinating with other units. I didn’t have time to pass the time. Sometime while I was riding in the HUMMER from one place to another I would write letters or words to songs that I would try to recall. It kept my mind busy and alert. I’m also a talker so when I was with the soldiers I would sit down and talk with them about their families back home.

Crystal: When the children were throwing rocks at you and your platoon, did you ever feel the urge to throw them back?

DS Haines: They weren’t all like that, but yes I did. Mostly it was the Ray-ban bandits that stole items from our vehicles though that I wanted to hit the most.

T. Ciccone: Of course.
In fact, some soldiers threw bottles half full of urine at them while driving at 35 miles per hour to see how high off the ground they could get the little bastards to fly. And some others would hit them with sticks while they were driving by as if they were playing golf. I knew a senior ranking enlisted soldier, and I really mean senior, he had the highest enlisted rank and there were only a few positions with more power and authority than his, that carried a large stick for hitting kids. Well he even put notches for each kid he cracked in the handle.

LT Worthington: No, the kids were not what I had the problem with it was the adult men who were only loyal to who or what they could get the most out of. The kids could be annoying at times, especially when they would attempt to steal glasses or things out of the Hummer’s as we would patrol the streets. Sometimes it would get dangerous but I knew that they were only doing what they knew best and that was survival.

Crystal: What is the main thing you want the readers of Time Well Wasted to get from this book and your time in the Military?

DS Haines: The running theme discussed among the members is that you should never, ever take anything for granted.

T. Ciccone: That the commanders are almost as big of a joke as they make them appear on television. It was truly amazing to me how full of themselves the officer corp was – when we were at Ft. Drum, I had a commander actually try and get me to show up at his house to park cars during one of his parties.

I always liked the LT though -- we went to Egypt together and I knew him. He never tried to break our chops for the sake of just doing it and he always seemed to be genuinely concerned with what we were doing.

LT Worthington: That no amount of time you spend on any one thing is a waste if it helps you or others to progress and grow as a human being. Some of the tasks we performed seemed tedious but looking back on the experience everything we did was necessary to ensure that our fellow soldiers were provided the best security and support we could give to help ensure their safe passage back to their loved ones. Being in the military is probably the number one form of selfless service anyone can do for their fellow man. We do it so that those who won’t or can’t can continue on with their lives with less fear from the outside world.

Crystal: If you could say anything to any one of the platoon members, who would it be and what would you say?

DS Haines: That is a really tough choice to make because all of the members of the platoon are equally great and incredible people, with the exception of Emerick (Just Kidding) If I could only pick one though it would probably be Bulger. We had so many late night cigarette breaks to talk. If we were on down time at all together we would be found sitting on the vehicles bitching to each other about the day’s stupidity. It was those conversations that kept me sane at most times.

T. Ciccone: To Doug: Your mom was not very good! No wonder your Dad left at such a young age!

LT Worthington: No one person but I would like to tell the entire platoon that my time spent with them was some of my most memorable times in my Army career. I am thrilled that we have re-connected and are doing the reunions every other year. We have a connection that no one can take from us.

Crystal: Was being in the Army a life-changing experience for you? Why?

DS Haines: Definitely, it was probably the best thing I ever did. I traveled the world and met some of the most incredible people. While I had some terrible times I still wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

T. Ciccone: Yes. When I left Ft. Drum and moved to Ft. Hamilton, I had more medals and awards than any other soldier on the base. In fact, my platoon sergeant made me show orders to prove that I legitimately had all the awards I wore on my uniform. Back then I used to tell people that I would give up every award, just to have my youth and carefree college days that I used up in the military. But now that I am a little older, if I had the opportunity to do it over, I can honestly say that I would never join the Army, but I also wouldn’t have done a thing different. Yes it is a contradiction, but my time in the Army represents some of my fondest memories and some of my worst memories and if I were 17 and standing in front of a recruiter, I don’t know what I would do.

The one thing that I discovered in the service is that I never want to be a support person. By that I mean, I want to be on the front line or nothing. The only regrets I’ve ever had in life were from experiences in the military and they revolve around opportunities that I passed up or experiences where I was only there supporting other soldiers. For example, we went on the trip with the special forces soldiers. Well that was fun, but I would rather have been one of them going on a mission, than just their transport. And don’t get me wrong, these guys were really cool and respectful, unlike our command, and I would’ve driven them wherever they wanted to go. I would just rather be the guy doing, rather than the guy not doing.

LT Worthington: Yes it was. My eyes were opened as to just how small the world is and how things in different parts of the world affect us right here in home town USA. I learned that there are those people in parts of the world who can’t protect themselves or provide essential items for survival. It is up to the rest of us who can help, to provide assistance. I don’t take anything I do or have for granted. We live in the best country in the world even though we have our down sides as well.

Crystal: How can a reader contact you and purchase your book?

DS Haines: I can be contacted through and the book can be purchased through Kendall Publication at

T. Ciccone: This is for Dave. I just write the stories and make sarcastic comments.

Crystal: DS Haines, Thank You for such an awesome interview! The book is available for preorder right now at I know that you are beyond excited about the release of your book, and I hope that it reaches more people than you could ever imagine.

Crystal: T. Ciccone, this was an amazing interview. It made me giggle inwardly most of the time. But your last few answers in all seriousness were awesome and I think a lot of those guys that were in your position can relate. Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to do this interview with me for Kendall Publication.

Crystal: LT James E. Worthington, that was such a wonderful review. Thank you for doing this, I know that you really do love these guys, it shows in the way you write. I think you made quite an impact on them as well. Again, I would like to thank you for doing this interview and, thank you for serving and keeping this country and people safe and free.
If you would like to read the book review for Time Well Wasted, CLICK HERE!
** If you would like to win a copy of Time Well Wasted, just leave a comment with your email address and we will randomly choose a winner on Saturday June 14. Two copies will be given away of this amazing book so make sure to comment for your chance to win! **