Michael Ferrara

Literature & Fiction

Author Profile

Michael  Ferrara

Mike Ferrara's career as a military officer and a Wall Street investment manager spanned a period of forty-four years, and preceded his decision to become an author. His debut novel "The Land of the Million Elephant" was based on his experience in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. The sequel "The Sons of Lubyanka" brought his characters face to face with a declining Soviet Union and an American effort to win the cold war. Mike's latest novel is entitled "Breezing". It is set in the thoroughbred racing industry and tells the story of a young woman recovering from a traumatic brain injury who is trying to become a world class Jockey. Mike graduated from Syracuse University, and earned a Masters Degree at the Air Force Institute of Technology. He also completed an executive training program at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Mike and his wife Cathy reside in Charleston, South Carolina.

Books

Breezing: A Novel

Literature & Fiction

In the world of high-stakes horse racing, is it training, money or luck that gets the win?

CJ Jamieson, a young female jockey with an unusual talent for connecting with horses, is eager to enter the world of thoroughbred racing. Trainer Ritchie Gallo has spent half his life in the sport of horse racing, but he hasn't been lucky enough to train a world-class racehorse. Until now. He finally has the horse but he needs the right rider. Call it luck or fate, he comes across CJ who is attempting to reconcile her complicated past and might finally be Gallo's ticket to the winners circle.  

Follow Gallo and CJ as they compete in the turbulent world of thoroughbred racing in a beautifully told, fast-paced story of triumph, tragedy and perseverance. From the tracks of Saratoga to the famous Churchill  Downs, their journey together teaches them that winning races on fragile legs isn't so different from winning at life with fragile hearts. 

Book Bubbles from Breezing: A Novel

Keep an Eye on This Thoroughbred

Today, September 4th, they will run the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs. It is a sister race to the Derby and the contestants are all 3-year-old fillies. The horse that is favored to win is named Gamine. The reason I like Gamine is because she reminds me of Hit the Bid, a fictional horse at the center of the story in my novel "Breezing." Both horses have great personalities and tremendous racing skills to match. The excerpt I've attached provides a description of Hit the Bid as told by her trainer Ritchie Gallo. Please read and enjoy!

The 2020 Kentucky Derby!

Due to the Covid virus, the Kentucky Derby has been moved from its traditional date on the first Saturday in May, to September 5th. This iconic event is described in "Breezing" when the key characters, Ritchie Gallo and CJ Jamieson compete in the Derby with a terrific horse named Tackle Tim Tom. The opening paragraphs of Chapter 30 describe Derby Week and the events leading up to the race. I hope you enjoy reading this exerpt.

A Great Summer Read!

Breezing has been well received by the literary community. Here are three partial reviews from NetGalley: "What a gorgeous book! Very reminiscent of Dick Francis with its in-depth knowledge of horses and the world of thoroughbred racing." "A beautiful story of overcoming obstacles..." "A good summer read centered around the horse racing industry in the USA..." I've attached the opening scenes of the story. Please enjoy!

2020 - A Different Year for the Triple Crown

Due to precautions associated with the Covid Virus, the Triple Crown of Horse racing has been turned on it's head. The Belmont Stakes, normally the third jewel in the crown, will be held June 20th, with the Kentucky Derby being delayed until September and the Preakness running in October. This will dramatically change the way trainers prepare their horses for the races. In "Breezing", trainer Ritchie Gallo and lady jockey CJ Jamieson compete in the Derby. The dialogue in the attached excerpt gives you a good view of the preparatory discussions a trainer and jockey may have as they get ready for this iconic race.

A Friendship in Black and White

These last few weeks have reawakened our concerns about race in America. The truth is, millions of people from different races get along well, work together, and build strong friendships in our country. Jimmy Crowder, an African American,is a groom who works for Rtichie Gallo, a white trainer. They are more than boss and worker. They are close friends who enjoy the triumphs of horseracing together and help each other get through the tragedies that are inherent in the sport. The excerpt I've attached explores their relationship, which sometimes provides some comical dialogue base on a tried and true partnership that has lasted for many years. Enjoy!

A Thoroughbred with Charisma

Some of the most important characters in "Breezing" are horses, and horses don't always do what people expect them to do. In the attached excerpt, a filly named Hit the Bid, messes up the filming of a commercial when she picks an inappropriate time to conduct several bodily functions. This leaves Jockey CJ Jamieson at a loss for words, but creates one of the more comical scenes in the book. Hope you enjoy it!

Jimmy Crowder - A Great Character

A key secondary character in "Breezing" is Jimmy Crowder. Jimmy is a groom who works for trainer Ritchie Gallo and has a great touch with horses. His ability to deal with people isn't quite as profound, as demonstrated in one of his first encounters with jockey CJ Jamieson. This scene tells you a lot about both characters.

A Woman Jockey with Exceptional Skill

A primary character in "Breezing" is jockey CJ Jamieson, a young woman with a savant skill for communicating with horses. Her relationship with trainer Ritchie Gallo drives the plot of this book. I've enclosed Chapter Two of Breezing so readers can experience the initial meeting between these two extraordinary characters.

An Introduction to "Breezing"

I've loved thoroughbred racing all my life and it has been a rewarding experience to write a story about a young female jockey and the trainer that mentors her career. CJ Jamieson and Ritchie Gallo experience tragedy and triumph as they make their way to the Kentucky Derby. Along the way they achieve great things on the race track, as they help each other to grow as individuals. I've attached the first chapter of Breezing, which provides the reader with an introduction to Ritchie Gallo. Enjoy!

The Land of the Million Elephants

Literature & Fiction

Acting on orders from President Nixon and the head of the CIA himself, young agency operative Mark Knight sets out to stop the North Vietnamese drug trade in Laos and neutralize its catastrophic impact on US forces. He works with a team that includes a Hmong warrior, a Pentagon intelligence whiz, two decorated fighter pilots, and a very beautiful Laotian woman who acts as an assistant to the US ambassador. As Knight and his team get closer to unraveling the mystery, they discover the existence of a spy and a traitor to American war efforts—someone who will go to any length to protect their identity and secrets. Intriguing and intelligent, The Land of the Million Elephants sheds light on a little-known part of the Vietnam War, providing insightful social commentary in the form of a thrilling spy novel.

Book Bubbles from The Land of the Million Elephants

Johnnie Kong - the Hmong Warrior

In The Land of the Million Elephants, CIA agent Mark Knight assembles a team in Laos tasked with stopping the flow of drugs into South Vietnam. A key team member is Captain Johnnie Kong. Kong is a member of the Hmong tribe and an officer in the Laotian Army. He has a strong friendship with Agent Knight and the excerpt contained herein details their reunion in Laos after a separation of several years. Johnnie is a colorful and sometimes comical character that I really enjoyed weaving into this story. I hope you will get a feel for the relationship between Johnnie and Mark Knight when you read this piece. Please enjoy!

A Sad Christmas

On Christmas morning 1971 I stepped on to the flight-line and looked at 100 fighter-bombers being loaded with bombs that would soon be dropped in Vietnam and Laos. It occurred to me that nearly 2000 years after the birth of the Prince of Peace, humanity still hadn't figured it out. Right about that time an aircrew from my squadron flew a mission which I describe in "The Land of the Million Elephants." I hope you will take the time to read this chapter since it introduces readers to two important characters in the book. It's a shame that on Christmas this chapter describes an act of war rather than a time characterized by "peace on earth and good will towards men." Hopefully we can do better in the future.

Meeting a beautiful lady in a country at war.

In The Land of the Million Elephants, CIA Agent Mark Knight is sent to Laos by the Director of the Agency and tasked with stopping the flow of drugs from North Vietnam into the South. His arrival in the war-torn country of Laos begins with an introduction to a woman who will eventually have a profound impact on his mission and his life. I hope you will take the time to read chapter 8 and enjoy the meeting of two idealistic young people surrounded by a war where ideals are rarely met.

Vietnam: The Final Year

Drawing on my experiences as an Air Force Officer supporting missions in Laos during the Vietnam War, I was able to create the characters and circumstances depicted in The Land of the Million Elephants. The main character, CIA Agent Mark Knight, sets out to stop the North Vietnamese drug trade in Laos and neutralize its catastrophic impact on US forces. As Knight gets closer to unraveling the mystery of who is behind the tremendous flow of drugs, he discovers the existence of a spy and a traitor to the American war efforts - someone who will go to any length to protect their identity. In this book I try to shed light on a little-known part of the Vietnam War, by providing social commentary in the form of a thrilling spy novel.

The Sons of Lubyanka

Literature & Fiction

In the decade of the 1980’s dramatic events took place on the global stage that brought the Cold War to an end and precipitated the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the dissolution of the Soviet Empire. Historic agreements between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev captured the headlines of newspapers all over the world, but behind the scenes there was a real threat to the success of this rapprochement between the superpowers. Air Force Colonel Brick Autry, a staffer on the National Security Council and a former prisoner of war in North Vietnam, is lured to a meeting with a shadowy Russian KGB officer who informs him of a network of spies known as the sons of Lubyanka. This espionage effort is comprised of former American soldiers, captured by the North Vietnamese, and transported to the Lubyanka prison in Moscow where they are brainwashed and trained to serve the Soviet Union. Once embedded in the United States this team of spies and assassins presents a challenge to the peace process being pushed by the Reagan Administration.

Book Bubbles from The Sons of Lubyanka

A Meeting With a King

In "The Sons of Lubyanka" the main character, Colonel Brick Autry, is sent to Jordan for a meeting with King Hussein. The Jordanians have a Soviet Spy in their custody who may be able to help Autry track down the Sons of Lubanka. The excerpt I've attached herein, contains the dialogue that takes place between Autry and the King. It is inciteful because it provides a glimpse into the complicated foreign policy paradigms that characterized Middle East policy in the mid-1980's. I hope you enjoy reading this piece.

CIA agents embarrassed by the Soviet KGB

After attending the Geneva Summit with President Reagan, Colonel Brick Autry, the main character in The Sons of Lubyanka, enjoys a dinner with a colleague from the White House staff and a lovely woman acquaintance. At the end of the evening, he meets with two CIA agents who have been assigned to watch his back. Unfortunately, while Autry was enjoying dinner, his CIA pals were being abused by KGB agents with a warped sense of humor. The attached excerpt describes the scene. Hope you enjoy it.

A Private Meeting with Rawhide

"Rawhide" was the Secret Service code name for President Ronald Reagan. In the second chapter of "The Sons of Lubyanka", the main character, Colonel Brick Autry, is summoned to the Oval Office for a rare private meeting with the Commander in Chief. This meeting sets the stage for a personal relationship that develops between Autry and Reagan and plays a key role in events that take place throughout the novel. I hope you enjoy reading this excerpt and the inside view it provides of a meeting with the President of the United States..

Love in Black and White

Colonel Brick Autry, the primary character in The Sons of Lubyanka falls in love with a female FBI agent named Briana Little who happens to be African American. As an author it is fun to pair two very different people in a romantic connection. You can highlight their different backgrounds, cultures, and paths to success, but ultimately love conquers all. I hope you enjoy reading this passage from the book that exemplifies how their relationship is evolving.

A ghost from Hanoi reappears in Beirut

Colonel Brick Autry, a National Security Advisor to President Reagan, is lured to the middle east where he is confronted by a KGB General. This is the same man who tortured American POWs in the Hanoi Hilton. Autry's initial instinct for revenge is tempered by the General's message: world peace is at risk unless Autry can track down a cohort of spies and assassins referred to in Moscow as "The Sons of Lubyanka." His mission begins in Beirut and circles the globe until it ends on the streets of Washington D.C. The first section of Chapter 3 describes the initial meeting between Colonel Autry and the ghost from Hanoi.

A Night at the White House

The opening scene of "The Sons of Lubyanka" takes place at a lavish State Dinner in the White House. President and Mrs. Reagan are hosting international dignitaries but the primary character for this story, Air Force Colonel Brick Autry, is finding out for the first time that the situation in the Kremlin may not be as well positioned for peace negotiations as he had hoped. Sinister forces in Moscow are at work to subterfuge future disarmament talks between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. Thus begins a worldwide journey for Colonel Autry to hunt down and terminate the Sons of Lubyanka.

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