“Compelling and visionary. DiMercurio’s characters run as deep as his submarines themselves!”
--Joe Buff, author of Crush Depth and Thunder in the Deep

"DiMercurio really knows his subs...his characters step right off the sub deck and onto his pages."
--Larry Bond

"A Master Rivaling Tom Clancy."
--Publishers Weekly

--San Francisco Examiner

--Associated Press

"Superb storytelling."
--Virginia-Pilot/Ledger Star

Submarine Message Boards:

Bob Moore's BBS / Bottomgun BBS (SubmarineSailor.Com) / Dutch Submariner BBS / Goat Locker BBS / HNSA Sub Club / Ron Martini's BBS / Scamp 588 Message Board / Submarine Sailors Message Board / The Submarine Forces / US Sub Vets of WWII - BBS / USS Archerfish BBS / USS Seahorse




February 13, 2006

My book VERTICAL DIVE came out in December, to good results. The blurb was:

As hurricane Helen barrels in toward the Virginia coastline, the U.S. Navy's Commander-in-Chief Atlantic Fleet orders all vessels to scramble to sea, including Burke Dillinger's Hampton and Peter Vornado's Texas. But this is no mere storm evacuation.

There is something sinister going on in the eastern Atlantic. The Navy's eyes are on the ballistic missile submarine force, the "boomer" submarines loaded to the gills with intercontinental nuclear warheads. And the French boomer submarine Le Vigilant has "gone bad," hijacked by an Algerian terrorist with dreams of completing the circle of revenge and using French nuclear weapons on the French who killed his father.

As terrorist Issam Zauabri's forces learn how to employ the nuclear missiles, Vornado's Texas and Dillinger's Hampton close in on the threat, but Issam knows how to use torpedoes as well as he does the missiles, and Le Vigilant is one of the quietest submarines ever built. Once the American subs are on the bottom, his attack can proceed on Paris, but since it was Americans who interfered, Issam will save one missile for New York...


There's more about it on the author website, terminalrun.com.


I was invited onto Fox News for several days in a row to discuss the Russian submersible that was fouled on the bottom.

August 8, 2005

I got a call late Friday morning, August 5th. I was correcting page proofs of VERTICAL DIVE with the computer off and the internet shut down. The phone rang and a young female voice explained that she needed me in a New York studio for a five o’clock segment of Fox News Channel. I figured it was one of my female friends playing a joke on me, and I was a tenth of a second from making a joke, but something stopped me. She’d asked if I were THE Michael DiMercurio, submarine expert. Now, whenever someone asks if I’m THE Michael DiMercurio, something very good is about to happen.

Five in the afternoon, I thought. I have my four year old daughter Meghan to get from daycare, my second ex Patti is in the city with our old friends the Merchants, my first ex is at the second ex’s house hanging with my teenage daughter, and my teenage son is upstairs in his room of our bachelor pad townhouse snoring away.

“No problem,” I said. “I’ll be there.” I didn’t want to say, “um, why am I going in?” I figured it was another maritime disaster. It seemed to take forever for the computer to boot up, but there it was, a Russian rescue submarine, the AS-28, on the bottom, fouled in a cable, with Russian sailors stranded.

“The damned Russians,” I said to the producer. “They dialed 911 late again!” She emphatically said that wasn’t true. I shook my head. I know the Russians. They’d rather lose their kids in an undersea accident than tell the world about it. As it turned out, my first impression was correct.

We talked for a bit, and she said they’d offered the interview to Tom Clancy, but he’d refused. Again I shook my head. I’ve spent more time on the “shitter” at test depth than Clancy has on a submarine.

I made it into the studio with seconds to spare, clipped on the microphone, and words flowed out of my mouth about what was happening.

So they ask me what it’s like down there, and I describe a crowded elevator at noon rush hour with the power shut off. The air is immediately stale and uncomfortable. Add in a wrinkle – it’s freezing. The poor crew is in bad shape.

Then I get the easy lob question: “So, what does the crew do when they’re trapped in a helpless submarine?”

“Panic,” I said with a straight face. Then I answered honestly. If survival is important, they’ll try to slow their heartbeats and respiration and exert minimal energy, and probably gather together to conserve body heat.

It was eerily like the ending of my novel TERMINAL RUN.

The interview went so well that I got asked back for Fox News Channel’s Fox & Friends. Fox flashed the cover of EMERGENCY DEEP on the screen. I was on a short segment, and while shooting the bull afterward with anchors Mike Jerrick and Julian Phillips, they got so interested in what I was telling them that they pulled me into a longer, cooler segment, then invited me back again for Sunday.

Sunday, August 7, the Fox News Channel anchors grilled me about my doom-and-gloom predictions about the probability of losing the Russian submariners on the bottom. We got lucky, I said. Had anything gone wrong on the bottom-operation, we would have been very close to losing the crew. As it turned out, the American Super Scorpios were too late to be deployed in time, and the British ROV was fortunately able to clear the netting and piping and cables that had trapped the AS-28 in time to rescue the crew. But they opened the hatch themselves, one anchor said. Certainly that means it was not the ordeal you described. I nodded. The last half mile of a marathon is much different than the 18th. Hope means everything in survival. With fresh air on the other side of a titanium coffin’s hatch, even someone near death can find the strength to get it open.

My prayers were with the stranded crew, my curses went out to the Russian leadership who wasted 36 hours before calling us for help. Those hours ruthlessly risked the lives of the AS-28 crew. All’s well that ends well, but when will the Russians learn?

Michael DiMercurio
Princeton, NJ

August 5, 2005

[NEW SITE IMAGE] The improvements to the website are magnificent, aren't they? Thanks to webmaster Bill Parker and graphic designer Steev Levchenko for their brilliant work on this new site!

I am sitting here checking the page proofs on the next novel, VERTICAL DIVE.

Here’s a taste, just a nibble, of the plot:

Peter Vornado and Burke Dillinger are lifelong best friends. Both have risen to command nuclear submarines, and they are friendly but fierce competitors on the Squadron 8 piers for the best-in-squadron award. Vornado commands the Virginia-class submarine Texas. Dillinger commands the Los Angeles class submarine Hampton. Their shared history includes a thousand exploits at the Naval Academy, their first sea tour on the same ship, and a recent deadly combat operation in the Barents Sea north of Russia that is so highly classified that they themselves don’t even mention it. This operation resulted in the loss of Dillinger’s former submarine, the Tucson, leaving him with a lifelong wound. During the Barents operation, Vornado experienced something he can never speak about – a woman he became involved with. During the operation, Dillinger fell in love with his female executive officer, Natalie D’Assault. There was a nuclear explosion that ended the Barents operation, but Dillinger, D’Assault and Vornado all survived, although they all took nearly lethal doses of radiation.

Dillinger and Natalie, who is now retired, are married. She is pregnant with their child. Dillinger is concerned with her health, because Natalie hasn’t gained much weight. The idea of having a child makes him feel awed and almost unworthy. He will be relieved when September comes and the baby is born.

Hurricane Helen is headed for the North Carolina and Virginia coastline. The U.S. Navy’s Commander-in-Chief, Atlantic Fleet, orders all vessels to scramble to sea. Dillinger and Vornado are pulled out of their houses on a rainy Sunday and ordered to get their ships to sea. Dillinger is bothered because he doesn’t want to leave his wife, whose health he is worried about. Vornado is in the middle of a serious marriage-ending fight with his wife over something he said in his sleep. Vornado tells Dillinger he may have said something about the other woman.

On the way to the naval base, Vornado tells Dillinger about his sleep-talking episode. He also talks about something going on with the recent exercises with his ship, the USS Texas. Apparently the Navy is worried about the ballistic missile submarine force, and has been practicing submarine-versus-submarine exercises between fast attack subs and ballistic missile submarines in an attempt to teach the fast attack crews how to rapidly detect and destroy a ballistic missile “boomer” submarine. It is not the Russians the Navy is worried about, but the French. Three French sub officers and a French intelligence officer have been observing Vornado’s exercises at sea.

Dillinger is told by the squadron commodore before departing to evacuate the hurricane that he may be out at sea longer than just a week – there is something going on in the eastern Atlantic and that the Hampton has been ordered on the operation. Dillinger protests being given a mission, since Natalie is about to give birth, but the commodore sends him out anyway.

Now, this book was written in a miraculous whirlwind session in a log cabin in “Blair Witch Country” fifty miles from a cell phone signal. This proved to me that I’m more God’s typist than the writer!

[Blair Witch Country]
This room I filled with maps, charts, submarine drawings, printers, cables, laptops, printouts…it was a true “war room” for writing. The animal heads with antlers seemed to focus the work.

[Blair Witch Country]
[Blair Witch Country]

When the power went out for eleven hours, I sat on the front porch with the laptop plugged into the truck battery and wrote like hell.

Here are a few comments from the writing journal:

7:35 pm Scotch on the rocks. Not bad.

10:43 Counting pages first. All lights off except the candle on the table. This is seriously creepy…this cabin, I wonder if it is haunted, but it seems okay. Maybe I’m just reminded of Mary Jo, who bought and rebuilt a log cabin when she first got married. Her tale of its haunting was chilling. Chains dragging and dropping, doors opening, slamming shut. Okay, I’m getting seriously creeped out here.

10:57 pm 227 pages. Shit. Goal for this week – get to page 500. Okay, I’d accept 450. Or 400.

11:09 Did revisions to the hosebag tote board (list of women I’m trying to date). Totally fucking off tonight. New objective – get like, one fucking paragraph written so tomorrow’s not a loss like today was.

11:26 Made research action item list. French medals, sub force pins, etc. Daydreaming about women. When will I get a girlfriend the likes of Ally? God, I should write a book about all this Match-dot-com shit. It’d probably sell better than VERTICAL DIVE.

11:55 Alarm set for 0400. Try again in the morning.

4:00 am Alarm goes off. Didn’t get to sleep till 1 am or so. Turned off the alarm. Sound of coffee pot brewing sounded like a bear growling, scared the hell out of me. Dreamt of that Blonde Realtor Girl, the one who fired me because I was separated.

4:25 am At the desk, coffee in hand, ready to work. Let’s roll.

5:05 Going okay. Commander Jean-Paul Gardes comes home to find his wife dressed as a whore...

6:00 Pause to make more coffee. No doubt about it – nothing like the first coffee in the morning for writing a sex scene. And nothing like being between girlfriends to make a sex scene one hell of a great thing!

midnight still working, chapter 13, intro to French

2:00 am Tired, going to bed. Screwed around till 3:00 am. Power went off during the night. On restart, the printer makes a loud noise. Scared the crap out of me. The DVD player by the bed also comes on loudly.

9:00 am Up, back at it. Chapter 13 still.

1:30 pm Chapter 13 done, split into 13 and 14

2:00 pm Proofread

254 pages in the can.

2:30 – 3:30 Ran up the hill, nice workout, but asthma kicking up – moldy and wet in the cabin. Started AC just to dehumidify the place.

3:30 Lost power. Sixth time in three days. Didn’t come back on. Checked breaker, okay, called land owner. The neighbor (Shirley) had already called it in. Decided to take a shower before the water in the hot water heater got cold. Got in, lathered up my hair, bang, no water. Water loss of pressure – from power outage.

4:00 Used water from the toilet flush tank to rinse hair and take a sponge bath. Dried off. Still no power. Got dressed and went into town. 15 voice mails. Ugh.

4:45 pm Met Shirley from next door. Still no power. Lit candles. Settled in for long spell without power. Charging battery 3 in truck with inverter while using battery 1. Battery 2 is 80% and standing by. Trouble is, the batteries all discharge faster than they charge, so at some point I’ll have to plug directly into the truck.

9:00 Power came back about 8. Until then, wrote on the porch amid candles.

8:00 am Woke up, about four hours late, but fresh, rested, and problem solved about how to present the meaner aspects of the terrorists’ coercion.

Sunny day, pretty.

9:00 Working

9:00 pm Quit.

Page count 277

6:00 up

8:00 Working

noon Finished chapter 15, the torture chapter

midnight Finished chapter 16, the junior officers reporting aboard on sail-away day chapter

Page count 294

Note, progress so far is equivalent to the first 3 months on the book as far as page count.

Please stay tuned!

Michael DiMercurio
Princeton, New Jersey

Michael DiMercurio
Princeton, New Jersey



The HTML Writers Guild
Notepad only