Random stuff…

Well, I wore out another keyboard…

This one lasted a year, and somewhere around 500,000 words…

And my new one… And N, I, and S work!!! Yea!

Yes, it’s a Microsoft Natural. I like it because it reduces my wrist issues, and has kept me from having carpal tunnel issues. Before these came out, I was really worried about my problems, but these keyboards have been an great help!

Of course there is a problem… Put me on a regular keyboard, and I’m huntin’ and peckin’… LOL And laptop keyboards really suck for me now. Sigh…

But the writing continues!!!

In other news, you really need to go watch THIS ONE, at PawPaw’s place. 95 years old, and flying the left seat in a C-47, just like he did 6 June 1944. They truly never forget…

I heard an 87 year old at Udvar Hazy talking through the entire pre-start checklist for a B-29 with his son and grandson. He also remembered the speeds, and talked about taking off from Tinian and never getting to altitude until they were at Iwo Jima due to weight (I went home and calculated that out, 750nm on the deck. Amazing that they didn’t crash). And he hadn’t been in the airplane in 60 years!!!

Book pimping!!!

Wing has a new book out!!!

Click on the cover to get it!

The blurb-

Raina escaped to Freeport with a tour booked under a stolen ID, and a plan to lose herself in the city. Instead, she found a city in revolt, and now both sides are after her to control the alien gifts engineered into her DNA.

Her only ally is an offworld investigator trying to get to the bottom of the explosive mix of on-planet and alien politics… but his secrets are even deadlier than her own.

From the back alleys of the souk to the depths of alien ruins, they’re now in a desperate fight to stop the revolution before everything is lost!

I alpha read this one, and enjoyed it. Dot did a great job of character development, and it’s a twisty little tale! 🙂

Sigh…

I was going to rant about the BS on the border, and the effing congresscritters that can’t pull their heads out of their asses and actually DO their effing jobs…

But Ramirez does better with two cartoons than I can with 2 thousand words…

Chuckie et al still claim the are the good guys… Even as they use the kids as pawns to try to bring Trump down…

And since he wants open ‘everything’…

Thank you Mr. Ramirez!!!

Rimworld snippet…

Well, the muse is ‘kinda’ back under control… For now…

As always, unedited, etc…

Settling In

Fargo dialed up a bulb of coffee, and a high protein breakfast from the autochef as he tried to stretch his aching muscles, Damn, I’d forgotten how bad Fleet beds could be. I swear I’ve slept on softer rocks. Jiri came in smiling as usual and Fargo grumped, “Guess you slept well?”

Jiri laughed, “Of course, my captain. Nobody was shooting at me!”

The autochef spit out Fargo’s breakfast and bulb, and he carried them to a table off to the side, as Jiri selected his breakfast. Slumping down, Fargo winced as his back complained about the hard chair. He sighed, and juggled the bulb, waiting for it to cool. Reaching out cautiously, he sensed Colonel Zhu coming down the hall, and cocked his head toward the hall as Jiri started to say something.

The colonel came into the mess, saw them, and crossed to their table, “Morning gentlemen. What is your status?”

“All four sites are up and on line, Colonel. Insertion was done without any problems. There was a fairly large crowd at Feeder three, but they took no action. We have initiated video surveillance and I’ll be getting those downloads every twelve hours. Whom do you want us to pass them to?”

The colonel thought for a second, “Let me think on that. I’m not sure we necessarily need to let the administration know we’re doing that. It was also brought to my attention that your shuttle pilot didn’t use standard approaches when the modules were emplaced.”

Jiri interrupted, “Colonel, we weren’t told we had to use any particular approaches, and she used the most secure approaches to the sites. Not overflying populations, and minimizing any potential interactions with any flights.”

Zhu nodded curtly, “Makes sense. If there are any reactions or protests, notify me immediately, any time.”

They chorused, “Yes, sir.” And Zhu headed for the door.

Jiri mumbled, “Damn marionette…”

Fargo coughed to cover a smile, “Garrison folks are a little different.”

Jiri smiled wryly, “Give me the field and a real enemy anytime. Them I can deal with. Backstabbing and politics, not so much. It’s not in our genetic makeup to deal gently with those.”

Fargo coughed for real as he snorted coffee out his nose, “Damn Jiri… You said that with a straight face… Don’t do that to me.”

Jiri’s smile broadened, “We are what we are. Granted our reputation proceeds us, but that is who we are. Deity knows, we deserve it.”

WO Boykin and Senior Grayson walked in together, and Fargo marveled at the size difference. Greyson almost made two of Boykin, and their personalities couldn’t be much different. But, in the situation they were in, he was happy to have them both, and he knew they were both professionals. That was all that mattered.

Fargo waved them over, and they sat as soon as they’d gotten their breakfast. He turned to Boykin, “Well, you got caught out on the surveys. How did they colonel put it? It was brought to his attention that you didn’t use standard approaches when the modules were emplaced.”

Boykin shrugged, “So?”

“Jiri covered you nicely. Today is probably a good day to go make nice with the pilots here, and see what else you can find out.” Turning to Grayson, he said, “You getting settled in?”

Grayson nodded around a mouthful of food, holding up a finger. “Yes, sir. I’ll check out the facilities today. Got the spare stuff stashed in the shuttle for a quick react.” Plucking at his sleeve, he said, “These grays are pretty nice. You sure I won’t get in trouble?”

Jiri replied, “In accordance with GalPat Rule thirty-one, three-eighteen, blah, blah, you’re authorized indigenous uniform when temporarily additional duty to indigenous forces. Which we qualify as. Voila, greys. And yes, they are probably better than your issue ones.”

Fargo got up, “Time for morning reports. I’ll go collect those. Jiri will you follow-up with the colonel? WO, Senior, y’all are on your own.”

They all nodded, and Jiri got up, “Since the colonel is already here, I might as well go beard him now. You know where our office is, right?”

WO and Senior both nodded. As Jiri walked away, Grayson asked, “So if I’m in greys, why aren’t you, WO?”

Boykin laughed, “Well, if militias had combat shuttles, I would be, but since I’m flying the latest and greatest combat shuttle, it’s kinda hard to say I’m not GalPat.”

Grayson leaned over, “Have you seen their damn armor?”

Boykin nodded, looking quickly around. “Yeah.”

“It’s a helluva lot better than ours. And ours is supposedly the best in the universe. How the…”

Boykin interrupted him, “Gray Lady. They do testing for De Perez.”

“De Perez? But why in the back of beyond on a dirt ball like Rimworld?”

Boykin shook her head, “You really don’t pay attention, do you Grayson?”

“Huh?”

“Have you looked, I mean really looked at who is in this particular militia company?”

Grayson shrugged, “Little, old guys. And they all carry those funky antique knives.”

“You don’t get out much, do you?”

“What?”

“You ever hear of Ghorkas?”

“Yeah, the CSM in boot was one. Why?”

“You ever see any other ones?”

“Not really. Treated a few when I was with the Fleet.”

“Never did a ground pounder tour, did you?”

Grayson sighed, “Where are we going with this, WO?”

Boykin put her hands on the table and looked directly at him, saying softly, “Those little old men with the funky knives as you call them, have an average, average of over forty years of service, and an average rank of E-nine. You never see them anywhere but in combat outfits for the simple reason that they love to fight. And they smile when the do it.” She leaned back, “And that is why they’re here, and we’re here. And why they are doing testing for new armor. They have more combat…”

Grayson held up his hand, “So, what you’re telling me is I fucked up, right?”

Boykin smiled, holding her fingers about an eighth of an inch apart, “Just a little bit. There may be hope for you yet. Go on the net and look them up. You might learn something.”

Grayson nodded, “Will do, WO. As soon as I finish breakfast.”

“Good man. Now I have to go see a pilot about a schedule.”

***

Fargo sat down in front of the communications suite, made sure the data logger was on, and started calling the four sites.

Shanni at Feeder 4 noted they had seen evidence of at least one disturbance higher up on the mountain behind Coventry, but it didn’t appear to have fresh tracks in or near it. They had hooked the location, and would continue to monitor video. They had also dropped a Ferret near the location and their 2 man patrol was out for another 2 divs.

Feeder 3 reported in, with Daman identifying what appeared to be an observation post, watching the feeder and their operations. He squirted a vidcap, and Fargo pulled it up. The hairs on the back of his neck stood up, and he said, “That looks almost like a sniper’s hide. Are you getting any transmissions from there?”

“Nothing in the RF band, we’ve got a patrol out, talking to mostly shopkeepers in the area.

When they get close, they’re going to launch a Ferret, and we’ll fly it up to the window, and see what we get.”

“Copy all, update at sixteen unless something happens between now and then. Good catch, guys.”

Horse reported in for Feeder two with no unusual activity, and very little movement around the site. Barun reported in for Feeder one, and due to their more remote location, their patrol had already been out and back. The closest village was over a mile away, and nobody had reacted to them at all.

Fargo wondered again about the feeder placement, Should have asked Mikhail about that. Their layout is entirely different than Hunter’s. Which reminds me, I need to get with Ivan and   get the maps for the cross feeds, sub-feeder links, and links to the remote farms. Don’t want to have the warrant inadvertently flying into those. Maybe task her for some overflights of the outlying areas around the locations. Totally different feel than Hunter.

Jiri came in with a worried expression, “Are we running armed patrols?”

“Why?”

The colonel is apparently already getting complaints from the ‘natives’.”

Fargo picked up the mic, “Site three, base.”

“Go base.”

“Daman available?”

“Standby one.”

“Sites one, two, and four, listen up.” He heard double clicks from the other sites, and fidgeted as he waited for Daman, “Colonel pissed?”

“He wants to know what kind of patrols we’re running.”

Fargo scrubbed his hands over his face, “Well, apparently the locals have some kind of organization that is intent on making our job interesting.”

The radio squawked, “Daman for Fargo.”

Fargo keyed up, “Daman, give me a description of the patrols you’re running.”

“Standard two man patrols. In greys, sidearms and slung rifles.”

“So GalPat standard, right? Rifles slung down the back?”

“Correct, no overt show of force. Just introducing themselves to the shopkeepers. Vidcams on the lapels. Handing out the holocards of what we are here for.”

“Anybody doing anything different?”

Barun reported from site one, “Well, we’re not giving cards out. Only thing out here is animals and I don’t think they are sentient, much less able to read.”

That prompted a round of chuckles, and Fargo keyed up, “Thanks Daman. We’ll handle it from this end.” Fargo got up, “Well, lets go see how unhappy that makes the good colonel.”

Ten segs later, they were finally admitted to the colonel’s office, and he waved them in peremptorily, “Well?”

Fargo replied, “GalPat standard two man patrols. In greys, sidearms and rifles slung down the back. Strictly non-threatening. The patrols are introducing themselves to shopkeepers, and giving out these,” he handed the colonel one of the holocards.

The colonel tapped the card to activate it, watched it in silence, then looked up, “Non-threatening?”

Fargo reached out very tentatively, sensing worry on Colonel Zhu’s part, and the fact that he had already been called by the landholder he’d seen once before, Perez. “Non-threatening. No riot gear, no protective gear at all. Standard comms devices, lapel vidcams. So we have recordings of every interaction.”

“That’s not what is being reported.”

Fargo was getting frustrated, “Colonel Zhu, I need details to be able to see if we have an issue anywhere.”

Zhu reacted, “Well, I don’t have details. You people haven’t even been here a day, and already causing problems.”

Fargo sensed Zhu’s frustrations overlying his worries about who was doing what on the planet. It was obvious that Zhu wanted to have control, but he didn’t know who to try to control, much less what the underlying issues were. “Sir, if you get specifics, I’ll be more than happy to investigate them. But in the meantime, I plan on continuing random patrols, non-threatening, boots on the ground, which is well within the ROE we’ve agreed to.”

The colonel glared at him, “Dismissed. When I have more information, I’ll call you.”

Fargo and Jiri came to attention, executed precise about faces, and left the office. Fargo stalked back to their office waved Jiri in, and closed the door. “Well, that didn’t go well.”

Jiri slumped in a chair, “Not like we had a lot of options there. We are in compliance with the ROE, but something tells me we’re upsetting what is it they say, somebody’s cart?”

Distracted, Fargo said, “Apple cart. Don’t know why, but it’s an ancient English saying. My mother used that one a lot. Especially when people were unhappy.”

“What do we do?”

Fargo pulled up the manning list, “Double up on patrols, at least every other, or every third day. Randomize the schedule twenty-four/seven. Still should give the folks enough rest. Need to go find Boykin. I want her to do some more flying.”

Jiri nodded, “I’ll man the radios.”

Fargo got up and stalked out, getting the feeling that they might be in trouble. There was a lot more going on than was being admitted to. He reached out with his psi sense, deciding all was fair in love and war, and this sure as hell didn’t look like love.

TBT…

Back in the day… We had crew hats that were done in theater… Japan, 1976-77

 

But the real reason for this is a picture one of my shipmates sent me, asking, “Remember this?”

The ubiquitous electric skillet… Every crew had at least two of these, some crews had three (although I’m not sure where they plugged the third one in). We would draw what was called ‘unprepareds’, which was basically uncooked items to make a meal, provided by the flight kitchen, that we prepared inflight. Our other option was to chip in and go to the commissary and get better stuff, which a lot of crews did.

Now if you had a GOOD cook, you got some great food, if not… well 12 hours is a LONG time to be hungry… Sometimes the crews took turns cooking, other times there was a designated cook. I was lucky on my last crew, our Ordnanceman loved to cook, and was actually a chef part time. Yep, we ate GOOD!!!

What made it ‘really’ fun was cooking in turbulence… Sometimes you ended up with ‘interesting’ one pan meals… Because the cook was basically holding the lid on with one hand and a leather flight glove, while hanging onto the overhead bar with the other, just trying to stay in place…

 

Which brings to mind another funny story… On the 76-77 deployment, we got a brand new kid on the crew, straight out of, I think, Nebraska. Never seen the ocean, much less eaten fish… Or Japanese food EVER…

We go out for a crew dinner to a nicer little Japanese restaurant in Misawa, JA. Not as fancy as the picture below, but they had the ‘demonstration’ plates up on top of the sushi bar.

So we go down the line and order…

And he has a tray full of food when we get to the end of the line, the rest of us…

Not so much. He didn’t realize they were plastic, and thought THAT was dinner. Much hilarity ensued, and what was even funnier, was when his food did come, he took the plate back up and compared it to the plastic display. More laughter, and the chef even came out of the kitchen and watched, a smile on his face.

Every other time we went out to eat, we always would remind him, “Don’t eat the plastic.” 🙂

Snerk…

Tired of paying outrageous prices for burnt coffee served by ‘baristas’ with an attitude?

Apparently you’re not the only one (I don’t buy ANYTHING at Starbucks, ever).

Starbucks is closing 150 stores in the next year…

The coffee behemoth is retrenching in its home market as it contends with sales growth that Chief Executive Officer Kevin Johnson acknowledges isn’t fast enough. The cafe chain said Tuesday it expects comparable sales to rise just 1 percent globally for the current quarter—the worst performance in about nine years. That’s well below the 2.9 percent analysts were expecting, according to Consensus Metrix.

Full article, HERE.

In other news, looks like Page was smarter than her lover. She  bailed from the FBI earlier this year…

Anti-Trump FBI agent Peter Strzok was escorted out of the bureau’s headquarters Friday, one day after an explosive report by the Justice Department inspector said his behavior had hurt the venerable law agency’s reputation for fairness.

Full article, HERE. Not fired, yet, but he should be.

Thoughts…

Yeah, yeah, you smell something burning… 🙂

Discussion yesterday with a young lady at the library who is breaking in as an author. In the two hardest possible genres, romance and young adult (YA). She indie too (self-published via Amazon). And does everything including her covers herself. I have nothing but admiration for her. I can’t/won’t do that…

It got me to thinking how lucky I am, to have a group of folks that I can bounce ideas off of, throw chapters at, and get HONEST feedback (along with speling erors, and stuf).

You can read a bunch of books on writing, how to write, how to plot, how to yada, yada, yada.

BUT, the bottom line, IMHO, is we’re all different in how and why we write. THAT is the bottom line, words on ‘paper’, either literally, or metaphorically, on the computer. Sparse, verbose, how ever you write, it’s WORDS ON PAPER.

Whether you’re a plotter, outliner (short or long), or write by the seat of your pants (pantser), you have to actually write. I don’t worry about punctuation, spelling, etc on the first pass, I’m just trying to get words on paper. There have been books where I wrote the prologue first, then the epilogue, THEN had to go back and write the middle. Another thing is never EVER throw anything away. If it doesn’t work in ‘this’ book, it may work in ‘that’ book. I keep those chapters, ideas, etc. in a spares folder.

How much you write is governed by your lives. 8 hours a day, 1 hour a day, 3 hours a week. It doesn’t make any difference, as long as you’re writing. 200 words, 2500 words, do what you can.  I wrote on airplanes and in hotels before I retired for the second time. Not saying that was the ‘best’ way to do it, but it saved me money on the bar bills… LOL

And you’re not going to get rich… Times have changed in so many ways. Indie did us all a favor, but it has also widened the ‘pool’ if you will. From 2 million to over 8 million books available on Amazon.

So… That wheelbarrow full of money?  Here ya go…

John from over at No Lawyers- Only Guns and Money gave me this years ago, if I remember correctly, he’d had some of them done when folks were talking about monetizing blogs… We know how well THAT worked out…

Anyhoo, back to writing. The old saw is write what you know. Not doing that, Leavenworth doesn’t hold any attraction for me. Okay, what ELSE do I know. Hrmm… Guns… A little bit about law enforcement… A little bit about surveillance… A good bit about south Texas… A good bit about military… And away I went.

People say you have to write a million words to get better, and honestly, looking back at my first effort, I can only agree. Still amazed people read that, and liked it…

I’ve been told more than once, I’m more of a storyteller than a writer, per se. That’s fine with me.  I don’t write the Perfect Character™, because that has always been one of my pet peeves. My characters are based on composites of folks that I’ve known, so no, I didn’t know your daddy, or your momma, or your sister. But if I got that close, I’ll take it! 🙂

For TGM, I’ve tried to keep the novels very realistic, and I think I’ve been fairly successful at that, without giving any current tech away. For the MilSF, I tried to mix hard SF with possibilities from research I’ve done.

That brings me to my  next point. Research is good! The more ‘realistic’ the scenario, settings, distances, etc. the better off you are. The last thing you want to do is throw the reader out of the story. BUT the last thing you want is a three page infodump. I tend to use sparse descriptions, figuring that my readers have good minds, and everyone ‘builds’ their own characters, settings, and populates the scenarios based on those descriptions I provide.

Granted, that does come back to bite me, when I get told rather vehemently that (insert character) doesn’t have THAT attribute.

The last thing may sound strange, but it’s good, IMHO, to have more than one story running at a time. That way, if you get stuck, you can always go to another story, and potentially kick start the muse on the first one.

Odd… This got almost NO coverage…

Bank of America has apparently followed Dicks, Delta, and Intuit down the rathole…

Bank of America has sold its interest in gun manufacturer Remington Outdoor Co. and made peace with anti-gun activists in the Parkland community.

Full story, HERE.

Makes me glad I dumped BofA two years ago as my bank. But I wonder if they are still invested in beer, liquor, or cigarette manufacturers??? Just curious…

On the other side of the coin, there is THIS letter to the editor up in Buffalo, NY…

Personally, I believe the real reason the SJZs, media, et al don’t want kids to learn about guns is to allow the school systems to brainwash them at an early age that guns are bad. Once they’ve accomplished that with a generation or two, they really believe they can take another run at 2A, and get it overturned…

Meanwhile, This Ain’t Hell blog has an article up , HERE that talks about how the MSM slants media coverage when a good guy with a gun is involved. If you just scan the headlines, or depend on soundbites, you’d never know the perps happened to take on two CCW carriers.

It’s not paranoia, when they ARE out to get you…

 

Ultimate underdogs???

Tiny Iceland is in the World Cup with a team that only has 11 members, all from Iceland…

Yesterday, they played Argentina to a draw!

A 1-1 draw with impressive World Cup newcomer Iceland is far from a fatal blow to Argentina’s chances of advancing from a well-balanced group that also includes Croatia and Nigeria.

Full article, HERE.

Considering the odds, and the lack of practice time the Icelanders get, this is an amazing Cinderella story. Sadly, I doubt they will advance very far, but you have to give them credit for trying and staying in the mix. Icelanders have NO give in them. Growing up there, they are stubborn as hell. Their fire department is the ONLY one in the world that has put out a volcano! If they can do that, who knows how far these guys may go?

Best of luck to them!

Bleg…

As y’all know, us authors live and die by reviews. It takes a minimum of 50 reviews for Amazon to start giving you a little free PR/recommending a book to folks.

I’m asking for help on two books.  One is TGM- Twilight. It’s sitting at 46 reviews, so I’m close.

The other is Calexit- The Anthology. It’s been stuck at 39 for a while. Folks either like it, or hate it, but it’s still selling! 😀

On a positive note, I finally got to 100 reviews on TGM-Payback!!! Yea! That will help it get even more exposure!

The rest of the books are creeping toward the 100 mark, and for that I thank you, for two reasons. One, you liked the book, and two, you were willing to take the time to give me a review!

One final thing, PLEASE give honest reviews. If you don’t like the book, tell me why. I DO listen. If you like it, I listen to those too!