Challenge Coins!


Challenge coins are a longstanding military tradition. They’re somewhere between a medal and a shinier, cooler version of business cards. Apparently warfighters aren’t the only ones with magpie tendencies. The Washington Post recently posted an article on the civilian world getting in on the act, with challenge coins being minted for everyone from politicians to police officers.

Well, you know me, I never buck a trend.

Much of the story in my SHADOW OPS series centers around a fictional military unit, the Supernatural Operations Corps, or SOC. More specifically, a specific unit in SOC, Coven-4/Umbra Coven (C4-U) is the center of the action. When I was planning for this site, I commissioned the crests for those units to be created.

Later, I was considering how best to use the crests beyond the website. The publisher might want to put them in the book. Could I also put them on baseball caps? T-shirts to give away as reader prizes? Challenge coins were the natural evolution of this thinking. With a little help from my friends, I was able to get actual SOC challenge coins minted. I’ve given a few away to those who’ve been particularly supportive of my writing, dear friends, my agent and publisher, my family.

But I have now given my first one to a fan supporter, Stephan of The Ranting Dragon, who was the first person to interview me since I went pro. Stephan is Dutch, so it’s also the first SOC coin to make it overseas. Stephan posted pictures of the coin yesterday.

Pretty cool if I do say so myself. I will be making up C4-U coins at some point, and will likely host a reader contest with coins as prizes. In the meantime, I wanted to congratulate Stephan. As the first holder of a SOC coin in the fan/blogger community, he’s got a special link to the SOC, and to me. He’s what we call a “Plank Owner” in the military seagoing community.

I look forward to seeing where else I’ll see SOC challenge coins winding up in the future. The campaign to find worthy holders of them will spin into high gear as the book gets closer to publication.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to pack up my life and move to Brooklyn for good.