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.