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Afghan’s Lipstick Warriors: First Chronicle
Release date: July 19, 2021
Stargazer Press
ISBN 978-0997126570
432 pages
Available on Amazon and all associated booksellers
Paperback: $18.99

Saarah Khalil was born in a secluded mountain village, in the shadows of the Hindu Kush, and came of age mostly unaware of the endless wars and tribal strife going on beyond her sheltered village. Then one day, the Taliban came and everything changed.

Faced with the prospect of a forced marriage to a Taliban warlord, Saarah flees to a women’s shelter in Kabul, where she is invited to join a fledgling band of women warriors, her initial reluctance to engage in bloodshed turning to fiery determination when she learns that her father has been killed by the Taliban and her mother made a sex slave. No longer able to ignore the harsh new reality facing her life, that all her hopes and dreams, and, in fact, those of every woman in Afghanistan, will be meaningless if the Taliban can retake power, she joins the fight to free the Afghan people from their yolk of tyranny. And the heroics of these ‘lipstick warriors’ soon come to light, fueling a clandestine war of wills between the CIA and State Department, the CIA doing everything in its power to support this nascent crusade against the Taliban while State, at the direction of a new president, appears determined to stamp out what the administration views as upending their neat and orderly withdrawal plans.

With this band of women cornered and a horde of Taliban soldiers about to launch a fatal offensive, one sympathetic CIA operative, aided by his Kabul station chief and their crew of behind the scenes techies, go completely off the reservation in an effort to save them. Add to this mix a salty assortment of special forces mavericks, corrupt Afghani politicians and their imperious American counterparts and you have the ingredients for both a stirring adventure and heartwarming tale of redemption.



“This is no trivial retelling of the struggle for freedom in Afghanistan. Riveting from cover to cover, it contains all the grit of war, the intricacies of Afghan tribalism and the often hapless efforts of two governments to stand up a new democratic society while holding back the yolk of Taliban brutality. In reading this story, one cannot help but feel that, if these Lipstick Warriors do not in fact exist, they really ought to. Highly recommended…”

Dog-Eared Reviews

Press Release

Author Gary Paul Corcoran Brings The Struggle For Women’s Rights in Afghanistan To Life In His Compelling New Novel, “Afghan’s Lipstick Warriors: First Chronicle”, Now Available In Paperback And Kindle

With our band of lipstick warriors cornered and a swarm of Taliban soldiers preparing to launch a lethal offensive against them, one CIA operative, aided by his Kabul station chief and their crew of behind the scenes techies, go completely off the reservation in an effort to save them.

[Charlestown, RI] The fall of the Afghan government has brought Taliban barbarism to the forefront of media headlines worldwide once again. Summary executions, schools and infrastructure destroyed, women oppressed and the page turned back on human rights. The atrocities of this militant organization have long been catalogued, and now to this mix arrives the unique perspective of Gary Paul Corcoran’s recently released novel, ‘Afghan’s Lipstick Warriors: First Chronicle’. If the sudden and complete collapse of the Afghan Army has reinforced anything, it is the very premise of Mr. Corcoran’s novel. The women of Afghanistan have only one hope. Defend themselves. The men will not do it for them.

‘Afghan’s Lipstick Warriors’ revolves around the life of Saarah Khalil, born in a secluded mountain village, in the shadows of the Hindu Kush, and having come of age mostly unaware of the endless wars and tribal strife going on beyond her sheltered world. Then one day, the Taliban came and everything changed. Faced with the prospect of a forced marriage to a Taliban warlord, Saarah flees to a women’s shelter in Kabul, where she is confronted with a simple truth. Her hopes and dreams, and those of every woman in Afghanistan, will be meaningless if the Taliban are able to retake power. And so a decision must be made. Will she lie down like a dog before them? Or take up arms and fight?

This sweeping tale of love and war and personal destiny is played out against the backdrop of an American government at war with itself, with the CIA doing everything in its clandestine powers to support this fledgling band of women warriors while the State Department, at the direction of a new president, appears determined to stamp out what the administration views as upending their neat and orderly withdrawal plans. The setting for the tale is several months before the stunning collapse of the Afghan government, when the thought of the Taliban imposing their strict interpretation of Sharia upon Afghanistan was yet unthinkable, when Afghans still held onto their frail hopes of a better world. ‘Afghan’s Lipstick Warriors: First Chronicle’ not only champions those hopes, but presages its soon to be published sequel, ‘Afghan’s Lipstick Warriors: Darkness Falls, in which a determined movement of both men and women shake off the grim reality of their defeat and rejoin the fight for freedom.

Quote: In the course of human history, there is no greater miscarriage of justice than the one perpetrated by men upon women. And so the hour has come for every woman to hold aloft this simple truth, for it haunts the mind of every tyrant, despot and dictator. A tiger is only tamed for so long as it accepts the whip.

Gary Corcoran is available for media interviews and can be reached using the information below, or by email at [email protected]. ‘Afghan’s Lipstick Warriors’ is available at Amazon and other book retailers. More information is available at his website at

About Gary Paul Corcoran:

The product of an Irish/Italian family, Mr. Corcoran was transplanted as a boy from the clapboard New England of his youth to the cookie cutter, stucco subdivisions that began to litter the disappearing ranches and orange groves south of Los Angeles in the 1960s.

True to his rebellious nature and the folk music/coffee house idealism that helped shape his early worldview, Mr. Corcoran chose to resist the Vietnam War, was a man without a country for several years and can count incarceration in a Mexican prison as one of his many colorful experiences during that era.

Having pursued a love of reading and writing in various forms all his life, Mr. Corcoran finally took this passion seriously around the turn of the millennium and has dedicated the remainder of his days to authorship.

The author of eight previous novels, Mr. Corcoran’s rough and tumble early experiences animate all of his literary works, from his Michael Devlin crime series to his special forces adventures to his tales of romance. Mr. Corcoran is currently working on a sequel to Afghan’s Lipstick Warriors and expects to publish it by the end of 2021.

In completing the karmic circle, the author recently returned to the New England of his youth and now resides along the coast of Rhode Island.


Gary Paul Corcoran
[email protected]


Contact Information

Office Number

(401) 364-3627






Interviews & Podcasts


Interview Topics

The Sixties

American History

American Politics

The Afghan War


Awards & Memberships

Winner 2004 Mayhaven Novel Contest

Author’s Guild

National Association of Independent Writers and Editors


Sample Chapter



A: My father was Irish, my mother Italian. I was raised on great Italian cuisine and Irish sarcasm. The move out west was a diaspora of sorts. My father had been fairly wealthy and went belly up. I was too young to understand what was happening, but looking back, I could see how we had been cut off from a rich family tradition. Plus my father was now something of a broken man, prone to drinking and bouts of rage. My own rebelliousness naturally followed. My father and I went on to become great friends later in life, but as a boy, I’m somewhat surprised I didn’t shoot him. The upside was, our personal battles got me out of the house at an early age and learning to fend for myself. As they say of the gallows at dawn, nothing quite focuses the mind like being out on the streets, penniless and with no place to go.

A: It certainly wasn’t the way I had planned my life. My dream had been to become a foreign correspondent so I took typing, journalism and French in high school, among my other studies. Then the Vietnam War intruded. I will admit to being rash about the whole thing, but my draft number came up low in the lottery, I received a notice of induction two weeks after my nineteenth birthday and that was that. Most people went to Canada. I went to Hawaii, a lovely, yearlong sojourn that led to an acquaintance with a fellow rebel, a return to Tucson, where he grew up, and our smuggling misadventures. In my defense, the allure of great fortunes to a man on the run cannot be overstated. My partner and I had plans to start a restaurant and bar down on the Pacific coast of Mexico and live like kings. Instead we ended up in a Mexican prison. When I returned to the States, the ‘Vietnamization’ of the war had begun, along with a lowering of the associated paranoia, but it wasn’t until President Carter issued his blanket pardon that I finally felt like I could walk down the streets of America without looking over my shoulder. Suffice it to say, it altered the course of my life.

A: Oh, sure. Throughout my twenties, I took classes at this and that junior college, probably enough to have earned an associate’s degree, but I was simply too restless a soul back then to sit in a classroom for long. As to education in general, I have come to conclude over the years that my extensive reading and life experiences are at minimum equivalent to a master’s degree. I base that on the people I meet with college degrees. Most of them with bachelor’s degrees, you wouldn’t know they had been to college, whereas, with a master’s degree, you begin to see how a clear worldview has taken shape. That to me is the whole point of learning. To get grounded in both this universe and your particular place in it.

A: Ever the rebel and iconoclast at heart. I say that with all due seriousness. I forever find myself outside the herd and looking in. Which is a healthy place to be, at least for this writer. If you remain in lockstep with prevailing views, you really have nothing to offer the rest of the herd. It’s the mythic journey. If no one ever goes off to have the ‘other’ experiences, the communal wisdom is just on loop.

A: From a very early age I was attracted to adventure stories. Stevenson. Kipling. Jack London. One thing London said stuck with me. Read history and science. Learn about the world and it will enrich your writing. Sage advice. In the sixties, I fell into a lot of the pop culture stuff of my generation. Tolkien, Vonnegut. Themes meant more to me than the actual craft. Then I went back to read some of it again after I began to write seriously and it did not hold up well. Tom Robbins in particular really seemed to stink with age. It was great on drugs, not so much without them. Somewhere in my youth, I got turned on to Raymond Chandler and spent a year reading everything he and Hammett and Ross McDonald had written. I did a search once for the 100 greatest novels of all time and found most of it bored me. Things like Stendhal’s The Black And The Red. It’s just not my cup of tea. I’m here to tell stories, not offer dissertations. Ultimately, I read Hemingway, which I had not done beyond The Old Man And The Sea for a book report in high school. I found absorbing his work very useful, before the booze took over. And that led me to reading the Russians. You can follow a thread from there right up through Hemingway and the rest. You throw too many words at the reader and you get in the way of the imagination. A map should not be mistaken for the terrain, and words should not be mistaken for reality. They are there to suggest and stir up the imagination. I would be remiss if I failed to mention Bukowski. You can say he was a horrid man in many ways, but I’ve never known a more honest writer. Early on in my own efforts as an author, I read Ham On Rye and the man became my touchstone to honesty forever after. It is a great long struggle for anyone to become a good wordsmith, but if you don’t arrive at some point where you realize, writing is just a truth serum, then I think you have missed the point.

A: Well, going back to those early years, bumming around Europe, living in Hawaii and crisscrossing the States, I had earned my way as a cook and chef’s helper. When I got back from that sojourn in the Mexican prison, I fell into a cottage business with an old friend from high school, making hippie leather goods. Then I was back on the road for several years, during which time I fell into another business, that of taking down old barns and selling the wood to homeowners and businesses. And that led me to learning the craft of carpentry. Which I truly enjoyed for a number of years. The working outside, the rough and tumble camaraderie amongst men, the sense of pride that came from building up something from scratch. All that together had led me to buying a home up in the Pacific Northwest, and it was while driving back down to California one year that I had a burning bush moment. ‘What would I be doing, if I was doing what I really, really wanted to do?’ And there was never a moment’s hesitation as to the answer. Why, I’d be writing, of course. And so the journey began.

A: Well, I’d like to say that it was a straight line from there, but there don’t appear to be any straight lines in my life, including my journey as a writer. My first impulse was to write a screenplay so I started blocking out the story scene by scene on 3X5 cards and pinning them in a line around my office walls. You could spin around in your chair in the center of the room and see the whole movie. It was an historical saga that I ultimately dragged around with me in manuscript form for two years, and that went absolutely nowhere. It was three years from that original burning bush moment to when I finally settled down to write my first novel. The important thing was, the passion for writing had gotten its claws into me and I’ve never lost that passion since.

A: Because it was a great story to tell. By this point, I had divested myself of virtually all my earthly belongings and was living in a 3rd story flat in an old historical building in Bellingham, Washington. Lovely place to write. A view of Mt. Baker and the San Juan Islands, with a commercial harbor in the near distance and a train switching station right across the street. The engineers would start banging box cars around about four in the afternoon, and literally shake the walls in doing so. Then, as night settled in, the train would head south and you’d hear that lonesome whistle blow far off in the distance as the train made its way over Chuckanut Mountain. It was there in Bellingham that I met an older gentleman and fellow writer who told me to write what I was enthusiastic about. And of course that story about my incarceration came to mind. It wasn’t long, though, before I realized that I had the Mexican version of The Midnight Express on my hands. Mind you, I was learning to write prose, learning to write a novel and figuring out how to write that particular book. But the natural storyteller in me soon came out and the story evolved into an epic, coming of age saga set in the sixties, with the prison experience as a crucible through which the protagonist passes from youth into manhood. I should mention. There was a moment, maybe two, three weeks into writing that novel, when I felt a spectral light in the room around me, and it came with a profound sense of realization. I’m finally doing what I’m supposed to be doing in this world.

A: Oh, that’s another saga, but an illuminating one. I had received an offer of publication in 2004 for Milky Way, and of course it came with the commensurate shout heard across the world. I had enough rejection letters on hand by this point to cover a wall, so when someone calls you out of the blue and says they’d like to publish your novel, you’re walking on air. Then I began to see what happens when someone else takes control of your intellectual property. From the end of 2004, when I received that offer, to when the novel was finally published in January, 2007 two, long excruciating years of frustration passed by, in which someone else now had editorial discretion over my work. Plus, it was a small imprint without the wherewithal to really promote the book properly. No book tours. No book signings and virtually no promotion. I spent more on publicity than the owner did. So lesson learned. Unless someone is ready to hit you with a six figure advance, you may as well publish it yourself. Or so I feel.

A: Okay, in order, The Last Love Of Eleanor Sands was based on a love affair I had with one of my college professors. It is set in the early ‘70s and is a bittersweet tale of love undone by the vagaries of time. South On Pacific Coast Highway is my loving ode to the hardboiled detective writers of my youth, like Raymond Chandler, and a romp through the Southern California landscape, with a haunting love story and a handful of dead bodies thrown in for good measure. The Tribe was my answer to the unending barrage of requests I had been receiving at the time, wanting to know if I could write a ‘billionaire’ love story like Fifty Shades of Grey. I thought, really? Someone hands you a billion dollars and that’s all you can make of it? The Tribe became my perhaps misguided imagining of a man’s perhaps misguided effort to save the world with the billions of dollars he has inherited from his father. It’s Always Christmastime In Cratchitville is a fairytale about life’s illusions. Postmark: Paris ─ Destination: Unknown was based on my adventures vagabonding about Europe as a young man. Love In A Dying World is my sequel to South On Pacific Coast Highway, with more dead bodies and another romp across the Southern California landscape. The Twelve Commandment is the story of retired special forces op who becomes obsessed with exacting revenge on an ISIS warlord for beheading someone dear to him. And my most recent title, Afghan’s Lipstick Warriors: First Chronicle, tells the story of a band of women who decide to take up arms against the Taliban, rather than submit to their tyranny. It is told in the 3rd person and incorporates several points of view, from these women warriors to the US forces to CIA and State and the Afghan government.

A: After finishing Lipstick Warriors, I went back to read through the fifteen or so novels I had started over the years and settled on finishing one I will call The Death Of A Ghostwriter. Per the title, it’s a thriller based on my many experiences in that field. I was confronted with everything from the hilarious to the absurd to clients actually warning me that my life would be in danger if I got involved in their project. I already had over 50,000 words in the manuscript and had quickly added another 10,000 or so when another thought struck me. What I really need to do right now is write a sequel to Lipstick Warriors. The fate of the Afghan women truly has its claws in me. And with events evolving so quickly over there, all you have to do is let the daily news write the story for you. With the collapse of the Afghan government seemingly imminent, the current working title is Afghan’s Lipstick Warriors: Darkness Falls. Anyway, I’m hard at it and shooting for a December, 2021 publication date.