Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Francis Hamit Submits A Perfect Spy, a Segment of His Upcoming Memoir...

Christopher Marlowe
Christopher Marlowe
I am a novelist and playwright. I am also a journalist with over 1,000 published articles, reviews, essays, op-eds, and other non fiction published in the last 40 years. I have a background in Military Intelligence and write fiction and drama about people in military, intelligence and similar occupations. Ordinary people doing extraordinary things. I am a member of the Military Writers Society of America, the Association for Intelligence Officers, The Historical Novel Society and the Military Writers Society of America. I have attended more than 100 science fiction conventions and am often a panelist. I am the co-owner of Brass Cannon Books and a graduate of the Iowa Writers Workshop (Fiction).

I contribute a lot to other people's blogs. I served in the US Army Security Agency for four years, in Vietnam and then Germany. I spent 21 years in the Security industry which provides some of the background for MELTDOWN.
My produced stage plays are MARLOWE: An Elizabethan Tragedy and Memorial Day. My novel "The Shenandoah Spy" has received over a dozen favorable reviews. My latest novels are "The Queen of Washington" and "MELTDOWN".
We have begun creating audiobooks through ACX.com which will be available on Amazon.com, iTunes and Audible.com. The first four short ones are available now.
A film version of my play about Christopher Marlowe is in pre-production and a "The Shenandoah Spy" is slat
ed to become either a major motion picture or television mini-series in 2014 or 2015.

A Very Special Girl - Deborah stayed the night since her dorm had a curfew hour we'd gone past, and there we were the next morning, alone in the room now, looking at each other in dazed wonder. What was this? More than just a roll in the hay, that was for sure. We have amazed each other.
It was spectacular sex, but there was more. We had been in each other's arms all night, and lazily made love again. She was able to scream a bit this time and that made her happy. I suggested breakfast. She looked at her watch and said, "I have a class." She suddenly seemed unhappy to be there, as if it were all a mistake.
She went into the bathroom and pulled herself together. I got dressed, too. She came out, smiling tentatively and said, "I will date you. But there are conditions."
"Okay. Such as?"
"I am not your girl or your honey or any of that nonsense. There will be no P.D.A. Public displays of affection. You will treat me like a lady and not do guy things to me. No pats on the ass. Not even a kiss on the cheek."
I was bemused. "Okay. I'll try to remember all that."
"If you don't, it's over."

A Perfect Spy:
A Memoir

By Francis Hamit

So why did I flip-flop the author info this time? Welllll, it was just to show Francis Hamit's picture first and draw attention to his "Ornery little grin" which, I must say, reflects perfectly what he must have been thinking as he wrote this short which will become part of his full memoir sometime in the future. 

Hamit claims this book is about when he proved to be the perfect spy in his college town...but then in his Introduction discloses that there is a lot of sexual content and warns potential readers... Actually, there is a lot of sex, but it is not explicit nor pornographic--Hamit is openly sharing what was going on in his life at the age of 20...

I have to say that it was quite, quite different from my life at 20! LOL So I found it fun to read since we are close enough in age that much of the setting he used was familiar to my early years as well...By 18, however, I was already working on a university campus while Hamit was attending college... And at one point squired 3 girls around campus, with everybody assuming he was bedding all of them...

Interesting comparison, I must say, at least from my perspective...

Memories are not always golden. Some are tinged with brownish edges as if they had been left in the sun too long. So it is here. As Bob Dylan said, "To live outside the Law, you must be honest," I am often accused of being too much so.

This is the story of how I became a spy. Not a choice I made lightly and not one I regret. It was one of the several things that happened to me in Iowa City that changed my life...


I've enjoyed two of Hamit's historical novels: The Shenandoah Spy and The Queen of Washington, as well as Meltdown about an attack by domestic militia terrorists on a nuclear power plant in the USA. The historical novels featured two female women war heroes that you may never have heard of--you should since not many are written about... But none of these compare with Hamit's personal life! LOL

This portion of what will be his later memoir is just 119 pages. If you have not read his work yet, this is an excellent way to become acquainted with his writing and at the same time, read his personal "coming-of-age" which turned out to be quite a fun story.

Francis Hamit was the son of a career military man and planned to later join him, after finishing college--his father's dream for him since he had never been able to attend. Because of his SAT scores, however, he wound up at a small Bible College and left as quickly as he could escape, moving on to the University of Iowa. 

He majored in Drama, was assumed to be a homosexual and got the bullying that went along with that assumption. He was able to build sufficient creds to move forward in Theatre and began freelance photography...Somehow all that he was involved in provided a great place to meet girls...

That was the 60s--when freedom was the goal--Vietnam, Civil Rights and,
sexual experimentation...and drugs...

That's when Francis began to see that the partying on campus was "unhealthy...." and volunteered to be an undercover spy to try and reduce the drugs coming into town... No, he was not a CI--he was totally on his own, was not paid anything, and only reported in when he had something to share. In the meantime he was out there in the midst of everything and with his beard and long hair, everybody assumed he was a hippie... So much so that he almost was killed two times and wasn't sure about the third close call on his life! One of his "jilted" (you'll have to find out why!) girlfriends had told what he was doing and the word spread fast!
One bad habit I've always had is falling in love too quickly with the wrong girl. I was far more of a romantic than those cold-eyed sorority vixens who measured every man they met for the role of husband and provider. They were after a "MRS" degree.
I got crushes and often got emotionally crushed as well. So it was at The Alley Theatre and again at the Marin County Shakespeare Festival. Was I needy or horny? Probably both. I liked sex. Being young and naive I mistook it for Love...
I also had a hankering to settle down and wanted a regular girlfriend again. I met girls in lasses and at parties and just hanging out. Everyone was looking for someone but I was going from a sexual desert to an embarrassment of riches and there were girls who enjoyed breaking hearts and teasing men. I learned caution...
The Sexual Revolution started by Hugh Hefner, Kinsey, and Masters and Johnson was under way, and I was eager to enlist. So were many of the girls I met at Iowa, but the terms of engagement had not been set, and this confused everyone. 

Sex, drugs, and rock and roll, Folk music, the staple of my high school years, was going away, and the new music more or less demanded drug use. Using drugs made you "cool" and accepted. At least that was the theory. It was a cultural revolution that would soon become political. Unlike almost everyone I knew, I just thought that drugs made people stupid and careless. I did my best to keep them off my stage, too...So, knowing the risks, I stepped ip and made a deal with the cops. Leave my friends alone, and I will give you the dealers...


And then there was playing poker with Don Justice, his teacher and involved with the Iowa Writers' Workshop, "the oldest MFA program in Creative Writing, which is notoriously difficult to get into, even 50 years later"...

The Thin Man
I indulge myself
In rich refusals.

Nothing suffices.
I hone myself to
this edge. Asleep, I
Am a horizon.

And where he also came to despise the then famous author, Nelson Algren. Let's just say his remarks reflect that feeling...

Soon after that, he met Helga who was working on her MFA in Costuming and shared that she wanted to change her nature--she wanted to be "liberated..."

And then came the fateful day that Howard Stein suggested he take an upcoming course in fiction writing...which Hamit claims was a "life-changing moment..." And he's been writing novels ever since!

I found it very interesting to learn the details of how Francis Hamit started his writing career. But that is just part of this book. His taking a stand against drugs when it was "the thing" to try them, speaks to his basic character. Those same moral standards are certainly reflected in his novels...

But the one thing most clear is that Francis Hamit loves women. And his flashbacks into those early years is fun to learn about while, I must say, also reflecting his basic humanistic approach to others with whom he has related during his extensive life experiences.

Especially if you have read any of his books, I think you'll really enjoy A Perfect Spy. I don't normally read memoirs as a genre, but I found this book enlightening, reminiscent of a bygone era in which I lived, and a reflection of an author I have come to admire. Into memoirs? Highly recommended!


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