Wednesday, October 9, 2019



In the world of fighter pilots, the most alpha of the alpha, competition is everything and the stakes are impossibly high. A Top Gun for the new millennium, Lions of the Sky propels us into a realm in which friendship, loyalty, and skill are tested, battles won and lost in an instant, and lives irrevocably changed in the time it takes to plug in your afterburners.

Sam Richardson is a fighter pilot’s pilot, a reluctant legend with a gut-eating secret. He is in the last span of his tour as an instructor, yearning to get back to the real action of the Fleet, when he is ordered to take on one last class—a class that will force him to confront his carefully quarantined demons.

Brash, carefree, and naturally gifted, Keely Silvers is the embodiment of all that grates on him. After years of single-minded dedication, she and her classmates can see the finish line. They are months away from achieving their life-long dream, flying Navy F/A-18 fighters. They are smart and hard-working, but they’re just kids with expensive new toys. They’re eager to rush through training and escape to the freedom of the world beyond, a world they view as a playground full of fast jets and exotic locales.

But Sam knows there is a darker side to the profession he loves. There is trouble brewing in the East with global implications. If they make it past him they will be cast into a dangerous world where enemy planes cruise the skies over the South China Sea like sharks, loaded with real weapons and hidden intentions.

Book Details:

Title: Lions of the Sky

Author: Paco Chierici

Genre: military thriller   

Publisher: Braveship Books (April 12, 2019)

Page count: 292 pages


A few of your favorite things: the laughter of my family, the sound of an airplane engine, a basketball swishing through the net, a good book (series), movie night, a good cocktail.
Things you need to throw out: procrastination, taxes, any paperwork, politics, nagging home repair items, putting away my laundry.

Things you need in order to write: an organized desktop. I can’t compose a sentence if there’s clutter.
Things that hamper your writing: the f^[£!ng internet. It’s so compelling!

Things you love about writing: I love reading yesterday’s work and being pleasantly surprised.
Things you hate about writing: my first drafts. God they suck.

Easiest thing about being a writer:  coming up with a thrilling story idea. Ideas are easy!

Hardest thing about being a writer: taking that amazing concept and outline and putting the words to page. And the marketing. I’m glad I was never told how difficult it is to break through the noise. 

Things you love about where you live: NorCal is an amazing place. We have sea and snow, vineyards, and Silicon Valley, all within a tight radius. San Francisco is a world class city with amazing food, though not without its problems. And you can’t beat the weather.
Things that make you want to move: did I mention taxes!? I do miss the diversity of the east coast. 

Things you never want to run out of: good French and Italian red wine. Admittedly, it’s difficult to find a bad one, especially over there. 
Things you wish you’d never bought: anything with Styrofoam. I feel as if the cockroaches will be climbing around mountains of it after we’re all gone.  

Words that describe you: tall, gray, loving husband and father, forward looking, adrenaline junkie, competitive, pilot, writer.
Words that describe you but you wish they didn’t: forward looking, dad bod, professional procrastinator, middle aged.

Favorite foods: anything Italian. Cacio e Pepe, Carbonara, Saltinbocca alla Romana, Caprese, gelato.
Things that make you want to throw up: beets, radicchio, internal organs. 

Favorite music or song: I love music of most flavors, though it needs to have a good energy.  I like to listen to music as I write, and when I write action sequences I crank electronic music. 
Music that make your ears bleed: opera.

Favorite beverage: I may have mentioned French and Italian red wines. I also love a good Scotch.  
Something that gives you a pickle face: sweet cocktails. 

Something you’re really good at: I’m a pretty good pilot, though there’s a lot of potential hubris in that statement. I’ve known many pilots who crashed, and many were better than me. Fate is fickle.  I’m fairly good at being a dad, regardless of what my kids will tell you. I’m a good writer, but I have so much yet to learn. 
Something you’re really bad at: routines. My nature and my life have never allowed for a regular schedule. I can’t remember any more if that’s how I liked it or if I evolved to fit the demands.  

Something you wish you could do: I’ve always been jealous of people who can play an instrument.  Also, a New York Times bestseller would be nice. Not sure which is more unreasonable. 
Something you wish you’d never learned to do: watch sports on TV.

Something you like to do: I’ve always loved to travel. I enjoy the feeling of returning to a favorite haunt, but I relish discovering new places. 
Something you wish you’d never done: I’ve been fortunate in my life. There are definitely mistakes that I’ve made, but I feel as if I am better for them.  I am firmly in the camp that we are shaped by what we do after we fall down. 

People you consider as heroes: those who put the needs of others ahead of themselves (and especially their political parties)!

People with a big L on their foreheads: almost all politicians.

Last best thing you ate: my wife makes the most amazing soups.
Last thing you regret eating: a bad oyster in Hong Kong. Almost killed me.

Things you’d walk a mile for: my family.
Things that make you want to run screaming from the room: honestly, it’s politics these days.  I can no longer watch any of them on TV.  “How can you tell when a politician is lying…?”

Things you always put in your books: I love descriptions that pull readers into the action, so they feel as if they are participants rather than observers. Full, rich characters are a must, even though I write thrillers. 
Things you never put in your books: minutia and extraneous jargon. The world I write about, Naval Aviation, is full of details and acronyms. The challenge I love is to relay the essence of that world without burying the reader in stifling accuracy. 

Things to say to an author: “Loved it! Can’t wait for the next one. I’ve told all my friends.”

Things to say to an author if you want to be fictionally killed off in their next book:
“I loved your book, but I would have done it this way…”

People you’d like to invite to dinner: Daniel Silva and Michael Connelly. I love their books!  
People you’d cancel dinner on: lobbyists and politicians. 

Favorite things to do: I love to read what I wrote yesterday. I love flying my planes. I love playing basketball and skiing. I love a good night at home for family movie night. I love going out to dinner with friends. 
Things you’d run through a fire wearing gasoline pants to get out of doing: organizing the garage, my office, any room in the house.

Things that make you happy:
genuine laughter. A great meal. A wonderful gathering with friends. Finishing a chapter.  

Things that drive you crazy: the screech of Styrofoam rubbing together. A messy desk.  Succumbing to procrastination. 


Francesco “Paco” Chierici is the author of Lions of the Sky. During his active duty career in the US Navy, Chierici flew A-6E Intruders and F-14A Tomcats, deployed to conflict zones from Somalia to Iraq and was stationed aboard carriers including the USS Ranger, Nimitz, and Kitty Hawk. Unable to give up dogfighting, he flew the F-5 Tiger II for a further ten years as a Bandit concurrent with his employment as a commercial pilot. Throughout his military career, Paco accumulated nearly 3,000 tactical hours, 400 carrier landings, a Southwest Asia Service Medal with Bronze Star, and three Strike/Flight Air Medals. Chierici’s writing has appeared in Aviation Classics magazine, AOPA magazine, and Fighter Sweep. He also created and produced the award-winning naval aviation documentary, Speed and Angels. Currently a 737 captain, Chierici can often be found in the skies above California flying a Yak-50 with a group of like-minded G-hounds to get his dogfighting fix. He lives in Northern California with his wife Hillary and two children.

Connect with Paco:
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads

Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble