Story Time With Michael Kingswood

I decided to try something new tonight, in between the final proofreading for The Falconer’s Stairs and doing various family things.

I made a YouTube video.

For a while now, I’ve pondered doing a video series called “Story Time With Michael Kingswood,” where I’ll read my short stories, blurbs for my longer stuff, and maybe entire novels a chapter at a time or something like that.  It seems like it could be fun, and a way to maybe get a bit more visibility for my work.  Also, my kids have bugged me for months, “Daddy, why don’t you make YouTube videos?!?!”  Now, they aren’t thinking it would be great promotion for Daddy’s books or anything.  They just like YouTube and, amusingly enough, me.

But hey, they have a  point.

So tonight I, on a sort of whim, hunkered down and cranked out a video.

Now, as you view this bear in mind I’ve never tried to make one of these before, ever.  And I’ve not really done much reading of my stuff in public either.  So given that, I think this turned out ok.

I’m curious to know what you guys think of it.  I’m fairly inclined to keep doing these, because it actually was a fair amount of fun to do.  And I’ll incorporate them into my Patreon rewards.  But I guess we’ll see what really happens now that I’ll be starting my new job next week, and after the novelty of video making starts to wear off.

For now, at least, it was pretty fun.  And I think it turned out ok.

What do you guys think?

End Of Deployment

It’s been a weird sort of day.

Earlier this afternoon, I shook hands with all the people I’ve worked with on the ship over the last six and a half months, grinned as an O-6 told me I did a great job for him, then walked off the brow for the last time.

I’ve departed ships before of course, but this was a bit different.  I’m not permanently assigned to this vessel; I was here on Temporary Additional Duty (TAD) orders as an Individual Augmentee (IA) in support of a specific Task Force.  On my other sea duty assignments, I was with the ship for 3+ years, and saw the crews change out almost entirely from when I first reported to when I left.  Not so with this one.  The same guys who were there when I first came aboard were the same guys I said goodbye to, and I was only aboard for 6 and a half months.

But hot damn, that was a fun six and a half months!

I’m flying home tomorrow on the first flight out of Guam.  And I’m happy to be doing so.  But part of me is a little sad, too.  Part of the reason for that is I know the ship’s schedule for the next half-year, and it is KICK-ASS!  Would have been nice to be aboard for the cool things in support of operations she’s going to be doing.  In fact, the Admiral at home and I had a cool plan worked out where I would extend a bit and she would meet me at one of the ports of call that she’d been wanting to go to for years.  But alas, my parent command raised the BS flag to that plan and ordered me back.

Oh well.  I’ll just have to bring the Admiral there (and to Singapore, which I think I mentioned before she really wanted to come out for but was unable to) at a later date.

The other reason I’m a little sad?  I guess because it’s just been seriously fun out here, and I feel like I’ve actually been contributing, something that I’ve not felt in a long time.  See, I’ve been in CONUS at training commands for a long time now, and even when I was deployed on my subs, the deployments were only tangentially related to the big business that had been going on.  So I’ve felt like a REMF (Rear Echelon Mother Fucker), which is not what I had intended to be.

Of course, the Admiral, and everyone else, tells me that’s BS.  And intellectually I know they’re right, because as a training guy I’ve indirectly helped the effort in lots of ways, ways that can probably never be measured.

It still sucks to not have contributed directly as much as I would have liked.

Which is part of why I volunteered for this IA deployment: it was a chance to directly do something again.  And it’s been a heck of a fun ride.  🙂

(The other reason I volunteered is that the Admiral complained on several occasions that she didn’t feel like a real Navy wife because she hadn’t experienced a deployment since we were married, and since we had kids.  So when this billet came open, I of course had to say, in my best Barney Stinson voice, “Challenge Accepted!”  And boy did she accept it.  She’s literally kicked ass on the home front while I’ve been out gallivanting around.)

So anyway, it’s time to go home.  It’s been a productive deployment.  Obviously, productive for the Navy and the Nation, but also productive personally and professionally.

Now.  Did I meet my previously-published deployment writing goals?  Yeah….not so much.

Just going by the first two months of the deployment, it looked as though I was going to be a shoo-in.  But then things got pretty darn busy.  So I didn’t meet the word count.  But I did finish one novel, get a good chunk of the way into a second, and finished several shorter works.  I have three novelettes on submission now, with a fourth story just about ready to go.  So while I didn’t exactly meet the word count goal, deployment was still a success.

It was successful physically, too.  Observe:

This was taken a few weeks before I left for deployment.

This was a couple weeks before I left for deployment.

This was about 2 weeks ago.

This was about 2 weeks ago.

Yeah, your eyes do not deceive you.  I got a freaking TAN!  Hot damn, I’ve never managed to do that before!

That’s what happens when you exercise on the aft deck of a ship pretty much every day, in the tropics, for six months.  Even if you indulge in way too much beer while ashore in liberty ports.  😉

I’ve also read a lot of books.  Over the last month, here’s what I’ve finished:


  1. The Sam Gunn Omnibus – Ben Bova
  2. The Damnation Game – Clive Barker

Written Books

  1. Darkship Thieves – Sarah A Hoyt
  2. Running From The Night – R J Terrell
  3. Trigger Warning – Neil Gaiman
  4. Monster Hunter Vendetta – Larry Correia
  5. Veil Of Lies – Jeri Westerson

I’m currently in the middle of:


  1. A Canticle For Liebowitz – Walter M Miller

Written Books

  1. Violence Of Action: The Untold Stories of the 75th Ranger Regiment in the War On Terror – Marty Skovlund, Jr and many others
  2. In Hero Years, I’m Dead – Michael A Stackpole
  3. Colonel Roosevelt – Edmund Morris (I’ve put this one on hold while I’ve focused on other books…for now)

With that, over the span of this deployment I’ve finished 19 Audiobooks and 25 written.  Not too bad.  Well above my average.  Probably above my total annual output for an average year, I think.  Though I could be wrong.

So it’s been a good deployment.  Now I’m slumming it at the Hilton in Tumon, Guam.

This is the view from the tiki bar at my hotel.  It sucks to be me.

This is the view from the tiki bar at my hotel. It sucks to be me.

As I said, my flight home is first thing tomorrow morning.  Cool thing about that is I’ll get back to San Diego late in the morning of the same day I left Guam.  So I’ll get to surprise the kids by being there to pick them up from school.  🙂  I have the feeling they’ll like that.

No doubt there will be some serious adjustments to make when I’m back home, both for me and for the Admiral and the youngsters (they all will have to get used to being spanked again ;P  Just kidding.  Maybe.).  It’ll be a cool and fun several weeks getting back into the swing of things.  Fortunately, I’ll be taking some leave immediately upon my return, and then again once school gets out.  That should help things immensely.

Well, that’s about it from here.  In fact, as I look at my watch I realize it’s now beer o’clock.

I’d best be getting on that.

Talk to y’all later.

More Reading and a General Update

It’s been a month since my last post, and I figured I’d give an update.  Got some more writing done; almost finished with a story I’ll be submitting to Writers of the Future in a few days.  Participated in some cool operations, but of course I won’t go into that here.  Maybe some other time, and someplace else that’s not so public.  🙂

I’ve been working out, of course.  I’m one week from finishing Insanity for the second time this deployment.  That’s been fun, and of course, the workout is no joke.  Once I’m done with this round, I’m going to focus on weights and the exercise bike (I hate treadmills or I’d run.  At least the bike we have has videos of various routes on the Tour du France, so it’s not completely mind-numbing).  Earlier in the deployment I had been working hard on my pull-ups, but I got tendonitis in my elbows so I stopped for a while to heal.  It’s been a couple months now and the elbows feel 100%, so I re-started my pull-up regime yesterday.  Obviously, I’ve lost some of the progress I’d made before, and I went with sets of two (before I was doing sets of 3 or 4) so as to not press too hard too soon.  But I’m back on the horse again, which is good.

And of course I’ve been reading and listening.  Here’s what I’ve finished over the last month.


  1. The Legend of Drizzt – R A Salvatore
  2. The Telltale Heart and Other Stories – Edgar Allan Poe
  3. Eternity Base – Bob Mayer
  4. The Gripping Hand – Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle
  5. Jumper – Steven Gould
  6. Dead in the Family – Charlaine Harris
  7. The Lies of Locke Lamora – Scott Lynch

Written Books:

  1. Totaled – Kary English (it’s a short story, but it counts.  And, it’s awesome)
  2. Fiction River: Moonscapes – Various
  3. The Black – Paul E Cooley

Of course, the next question would be what did I think of these various books?  Well, you can look to Goodreads for that.  But suffice it to say I enjoyed all of them, to one extent or another.  Can’t say any of them left me disappointed or pissed off, and most left me grinning.  So that’s a good thing.

I’m currently reading the following.


  1. The Sam Gunn Omnibus – Ben Bova

Written Books:

  1. Colonel Roosevelt – Edmund Morris (going slow on this one)
  2. Monster Hunter Vendetta – Larry Correia (I was just starting this as of last post, but got distracted with other books first, obviously. I’m about 1/3 done now)
  3. Trigger Warning – Neil Gaiman (After all the whining from the continually offended over the title, I HAD to get this book and read it.  I’m about 2/3 done)

So…what’s next up?


  1. The Damnation Game – Clive Barker
  2. A Canticle of Leibowitz – Walter M Miller
  3. The Bourne Identity – Robert Ludlum (I keep meaning to come back to this one.  I started it about a year ago but stopped a couple chapters in.  Not that I don’t like it, but for whatever reason I just felt like moving on to other things)

Written Books:

  1. Darkship Thieves – Sarah Hoyt
  2. Running From The Night – R J Terrell
  3. Monster Hunter Alpha – Larry Correia
  4. The Disappeared – Kristine Kathryn Rusch
  5. On Basilisk Station – David Weber

Yeah, I know.  My list of upcoming written books is different than it was last month.  And I read some things this month that weren’t even on the upcoming list last month.  What can I say, I’m flighty.  Or something.

So that’s what’s up over here.  Deployment’s still fun, but I’m getting to the point where I’m ready to be done.  Just one more month to go.  🙂

Star Trek: Axanar

About a month ago, I was on Facebook (Yeah, yeah….I know) and I saw a post, I think from George Takei, linking to a Kickstarter for a Star Trek movie.  I was like, “Star Trek?  In Kickstarter?  I HAVE to check that out.”

That’s how I discovered Star Trek: Axanar.

When I saw the video that was posted on the kickstarter page, I was floored.  This is FREAKING AWESOME!

See what I mean?

Of course, that left me wondering.  Why was it up on Kickstarter?  Paramount/CBS had been producing Star Trek movies for a while, and they’d been doing well.  Why go to Kickstarter?  Was it sort of like the Veronica Mars thing, where the creators wanted to make a movie but the studio wasn’t sure and said if they got enough movie from fans the studio would back it?  And then the Veronica Mars fans completely CRUSHED the studio’s requirement?  But that didn’t make any sense at all.  Why would Paramount need to do that?  They have confidence in Star Trek, obviously.

Then I scrolled down the Kickstarter page and saw the was a freaking fan film!

Now, I’ve known for a while that fans have been making their own Star Trek episodes, even entire series, and putting them out on the web.  As a life-long Star Trek fan, I’ve checked in on them from time to time.  But I’ve never really taken a shine to them.  Yeah they’re cool, but…  I dunno, I guess partially I was busy and had a lot of other things that caught my attention.  But mostly those fan things did not.


Come to find out, Alec and Christian, the guys behind this, ran a previous Kickstarter to get funds to make the Prelude (the video posted above, the one that’s on the main Axanar Kickstarter page).  They asked for $10k and raised $100k.  The prelude video cost them about $75k to make.

Yes, that AMAZINGLY AWESOME totally professional-looking, with WICKED COOL special effect sequences, short film cost only $75k.  Holy shitballs, Batman!  And look who’s in it: Richard Hatch, of Galactica fame, Tony Todd, the rest.  Turns out Alec and Christian have been working in Hollywood for a while, and they got other top-shelf people working on it, too: their makeup guy won an Academy award!

So holy smokes, if these guys could do that.  On their own.  For that little money…

I totally had to back that Kickstarter.

But alas, I couldn’t.  Because it had already finished.

They asked for $100k, so they could book a sound stage and get started on pre-production, with the notion that they would do more Kickstarters to get the rest as they showed they were making progress.  They got over $600k (which is about what they estimated it would cost to make the entire thing)!

And I couldn’t donate!  ARRRRRGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!!

But wait!  Turns out I could!  On their webpage, they have a donate button, and if you donate there you get the same rewards as if you’d backed the Kickstarter to begin with!  Sweet!  I’m there!

And so I am.

Why do I bring this up?  Well, obviously because I think it’s awesome.  And because I think if any of you folks out there are like me and love Star Trek (or even just like it….or think it doesn’t suck), or if you just appreciate what they did on that prelude movie, you totally should go and donate some cash.  With all the extra money they’ve gotten they’re ramping up their plans for the film (which is now in pre-production for a scheduled 2015 release), and obviously the more $ they get the more cool it will be.

But the best part?  The freaking studio’s not involved.  Dude, this is true indie film-making.  Yeah, they have to be careful not to actually use any CBS-owned IP so they don’t get in trouble, and from all appearances they are.  But how cool is this, that people who love a thing can just decide to make a movie about it, and that they can raise the money from fans so they can make it happen (and really quickly too)?  I think it’s awesome, which is why I’m backing it and why you should too.

If I were a CBS studio exec, I would totally be calling these two guys to make Axanar a fully-licensed piece of work.  But I’m not.  And I guess I’m glad I’m not, because just as going with a big publisher can more often than not be a really bad move for a writer these days, I wonder if going with the studio wouldn’t be a bad call for Alec and Christian, too.  It might end up ruining the entire thing.  Maybe?

Regardless, CBS isn’t involved, so it’s moot.  And the project’s awesome.

Go give money!


Marital Bliss and Other Developments

It’s been well over a week since I last updated the blog here.  No doubt all y’all have been on the edge of your seats wondering what’s become of me.  Well, my half-hearted prediction came true: the business of traveling and the wedding overwhelmed everything else and I was lost in a sea of kids, mothers, aunts, significant others, drunken revelers, and all the others that you would expect at such an event.  It was a pretty good time, even though several times when the better half, the kids, and I walked in, we received blank stares and, “Oh.  We didn’t realize you were coming…with the kids,” followed by a mad scramble to make room, since it seemed there never was enough seating for everyone.  It’s almost as though we hadn’t told anyone we were coming.


But wait, it gets better.  Flying back on Tuesday, we were delayed in departing Orlando and thus missed our connection in Phoenix.  So Southwest was kind enough to put us up in a hotel for the night before getting us home Wednesday (yesterday) morning.

But seriously, don’t get the wrong idea.  It was a good trip.  Very good, despite the stress of flying four kids across country.  It’s not every day one’s sister ties the knot, after all, and the ceremony and celebrations were beautiful and tons of fun.  And Florida is a fun place in general.  And for certain the Atlantic is a whole lot more fun to swim in than the Pacific.  Or at least the Pacific along the California coast – can you say freaking cold?  Yeah, I thought you could.

So that’s why there were no chapters while I was gone.  Hardly a surprise, right?  😉  Sorry about that.  I’ll just put the next one up on Saturday and call it even, ok?


Speaking of cool, while I was away, three more short audiobooks of mine went live on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes.  These are the next three of my Larian Elesir stories – short stories and novelettes all, and thus quite affordable as audiobooks go.  Just $3.95 apiece (less if you’re an Audible member).  I highly encourage you to check them out, if you’re so inclined.  And of course, if you’re not an Audible member and decide to join and make one of my stories your first purchase, I’ll get a nice hefty “bounty” for your head.  Erm…for your business, I mean.  I think it’s $50 – not too shabby.  So anyway, do go by and have a look.  Nick Mortise read them all and I think he did a great job.  Listening to them put a smile on my face.  And reminded me that I really ought to write more Larian stories because he’s cool and I enjoy him.

So that happened.  Let’s see…what else to put out?  Oh yes.

On Saturday, 31 May, I’m putting The Pericles Conspiracy on sale for $0.99 on Amazon.  Actually, I told Amazon to lower the price just a minute ago, so it’ll probably drop sometime tomorrow, so I’m not late.  You see, I decided to experiment with a paid promotion, and on Saturday Booksends is going to feature Pericles.  So it’ll be $0.99 for the day, then on Sunday it’ll go to $2.99.  Then either Monday or Tuesday, depending on how it’s doing, it’ll return to full price.  So if you’ve had the hankering to check Pericles out but haven’t gotten around to it yet, now’s the time.  Or rather, Saturday’s the time.  Kindly wait until then; hopefully the ad will drive a bunch of folks to purchase it on that day, and the more who do the more ranking boost it’ll get, so…wait until then, if you would.  🙂

So that’s what’s new around here.  Hope all’s well with y’all.  Time to get a little work done, then hit the rack.

Until next time.  🙂

Big Trouble In Little China

…is just about my favorite movie of all time, second only to Aliens.

Maybe.  Depending on the day and what kind of mood I’m in, it may even cast Aliens from the throne and stomp on it.  That’s how awesome that movie is.

For that matter, it’s really hard to go wrong with any mid-80s John Carpenter movie.  They Live, anyone?  Brilliant!  But nothing compares with Jack Burton and the Porkchop Express for sheer fun and bravado.  It’s just so full of awesome, I don’t even know how to describe it.

It’s also a little sad, because I can’t see Hollywood making fun cheesy movies like that anymore.  Cheesy, yes.  But fun, the way Little China is fun?  No way.  They’d CGI it up, or worse try to make it relevant or some jackassery like that, and ruin it.

But why do I bring up this timeless classic?  Two reasons.  One, I watched it last night via Amazon Prime streaming, for free!  🙂  Now, I own the DVD of course, but the BluRay player in my PS-3 died (I’m waiting on the box from Sony to send it back for repairs).  I was really in the mood for the adventure of Jack and Wang, though, so in desperation I checked Amazon…and it was in the prime streaming library!  Score!

That made for a fun evening.  The kids loved it too.  🙂

Second, I encountered this last night, and it is so full of awesome I just had to share it:

So yeah, that’s all I had.

Have a great day.  🙂

A New Direction – Again

I got my 1,500 words for the evening (if I do 1,500 words a day, I meet my weekly goal in 5 days, so that’s generally what I shoot for.  I haven’t hit it much over the last couple months, as y’all know.  But I still shoot for it) so I’ve been doing a little reading, and some thinking.

Yes, the thinking hurt my head.  I’m dealing with it.  🙂

Actually, I had this thought earlier today, and in fact a few weeks back.  So here goes:


I’ve seen other writers post their work in their blogs.  And for a while I started to do that, too.  But then I got distracted by, you know, writing, and I stopped.  But I have a bunch of stories finished now, and several longer works.  So I figure I’ll try it again, starting tomorrow.

Since I’m releasing The Pericles Conspiracy this weekend (I decided to just go with the ebook on the 24th, and get the paperback out probably early next week after the new proof gets here.  Enough stalling), the first things I’m going to post are…shocker…related to that.

I think I’ve mentioned before, on several occasions, that Passing In The Night is what inspired Pericles.  It is a hard science fiction novelette and was my first submission to Writers of the Future, and received an honorable mention.  And I’ll have to double check my records, but I think it’s also my best-selling single title so far.  Pericles continues the story that began in Passing, and tells what happened to the crew of the starliner Pericles after their little adventure in Passing.  So Passing In The Night truly is the prelude to The Pericles Conspiracy.

So that will be the first thing I post on here.

Passing In The Night is divided into four parts.  So starting tomorrow, I’ll post the complete story here on my blog over the span of the next week.  Then, starting next Friday I’ll begin posting chapters from Pericles.  Now, Pericles has 63 chapters (hey, it’s 490 pages long.  What do you expect?), so if I only do one chapter a week it’ll take freaking forever to get through the thing.  So I think I’ll do two or maybe three chapters a week.  Then I’ll move on to other titles.  Probably Glimmer Vale next, then others.  Regardless, I’ve got enough stuff now that we’ll be good with fun samples to read for a considerable time.

Sound like a good plan?  I think it does.  Stay tuned.  This should be rather fun.


Sprinting Through Week 18

Another week of 2013 down.

I wrote nothing new.  Zip.  Zero.  Nada.  Not even going to show you the graph because there ain’t nothing there.

And that’s ok.

It’s ok because this is actually the first week that I haven’t written anything this year.  And because I was just simply doing other, fun and important, things.  Like finishing Mark Fassett‘s new book, and starting on Rebecca Senese‘s.  Both are friends, and I promised them both feedback, so you gotta do what you gotta do.

But beyond that, I just felt like taking a little break – after finally finishing Pericles, I think that’s an ok thing – and, you know, doing family stuff.

And I ran another triathlon.

But not just me.  You see, a month and a half ago or so, it hit me that the boys from work and I had signed up for the Spring Sprint Triathlon here in San Diego on Cinco de Mayo.  And, of course, Cinco de Mayo is my wedding anniversary.  So I suggested to the better half that maybe she would like to run a triathlon as well, and that unleashed the floodgates.  She thought that was a great idea, and we soon found the the awesome bike shop right around the corner from us has a very affordable (ok, relatively affordable) beginner’s triathlon package.  So we used part of our tax return (and dude, let me tell you, having 4 kids, taking a loss on two side businesses, and having students loans to repay – hers not mine – is great for taxes.  My income tax burden last year, not include FICA, was….wait for it…$95.  It’s good to stick it to the man. 😛 ) and got her hooked up.  She got started training, but as of the end of this week she still was not very confident about her bike, and in particular the clips on her pedals.  So she went to a women’s clinic at the bike shop, and then I took her out riding afterwords, and she felt a lot better.

And then, yesterday, the moment of truth.  Her first triathlon, and my second.

Image 2

Not a bad looking couple there.  I almost look buff in that wetsuit.  😛

Actually, if I can embark on a little tangent here (yeah, like I haven’t already done that), I feel the need to opine about wetsuits for a bit.  I think I mentioned it before, but during my first Triathlon, the swim frankly sucked.  Yeah, I hadn’t trained in the water as much as I should have.  But adding to the issue was my freaking wetsuit.  I just wore the suit I had from my scuba diving days, a decade or more ago.  Yes yes, I know, I can hear the voices already.  Why haven’t you been diving?  Because the diving sucks in upstate NY, it’s bloody cold in Maine, and to get any good diving in and around Charleston, SC you have to go several dozen miles off the coast.  And that’s where I’ve been living since I transferred away from my first submarine, which was in Pearl Harbor (awesome place…duh).  At least until now.  Anyway, getting back to the wetsuit, that old Oceanic suit is awesome. For diving.  But when you’re scuba diving, you kick yourself around.   You’re not exactly swimming freestyle through the waves.  Suffice it to say that suit was not very flexible about the shoulders.  And beyond that, I am a little bit bigger now than I was then, especially about the chest (I can bench quite a bit more now than I could back in my early to mid 20s.  Yes that’s my story and I’m sticking to it) so the suit was a bit tight, which made it hard to breathe.

Clearly, that situation was unacceptable.  Fortunately for me, the folks who put on this weekend’s triathlon had a great deal worked out with Xterra Wetsuits – 60% off!  So I used their coupon  code and ordered Xterra’s top-of-the-line Vector Pro suit, normally $600, for about $260.  And I must say, this wetsuit rocks.  Talk about easy to move around in.  Swimming in that thing is…well, it’s just SO much easier.  On Thursday after work, the better half and I took the kiddos to Mission Bay, here in San Diego.  They love the beach, but hate big waves (the oldest of our kids is 5.  Duh, of course she hates big waves), so the sheltered bay is perfect.  While we were there, I put on the new suit and swum to a little island a couple hundred yards away, and back again.  Like I said: SO MUCH BETTER.

All that pointed toward this race being awesome.  And it was.  I vastly improved my time over the last one (although in honesty I must point out that the overall course was quite a bit shorter than the SEAL Sprint Triathlon, but still I did proportionally better as well, so that’s good), and the better half finished her first Triathlon ever.


After the race, we went and got a late breakfast at a local place in Ocean Beach, and then rolled back to our humble abode, here on Point Loma.  I forked over some bucks (ok more than some) to the babysitter and then we had a nice relaxing Sunday, complete with Pollo Asado, a little Battlestar Gallactica, The Amazing Race, and Game of Thrones.  Not a bad Anniversary, if you ask me.  And best of all, the better half agreed.


So, that was my week.  Two weeks from now, the boys from work and I are hitting the OC Triathlon, a little ways north of here.  This one is olympic length – 1500m swim, 24ish mile bike, 6.2 mile run.  So about double the distance of these first two.  It promises to be a challenge, and no doubt I will be a hurting unit afterwords.  But I’m looking forward to it.

And yes, I will indeed get some more writing done as well.  Just as soon as I finish Rebecca’s book.

Speaking of which…

On the Outside, Looking In

As you should know (from the About Michael tab), in what passes for real life I am a Lieutenant Commander in the US Navy.  Up until a couple years ago I was a submariner by trade; since then I transitioned into the education and training side of Navy life, as I’ve reached the limit of what I’ll be allowed to do in submarines.  That was a bitter pill to swallow; it would have been cool to Captain my own boat.  But also highly annoying in a lot of ways, most of which spring from Nuclear Power.  Don’t get me started.

That said, I’m still a qualified submariner, still think submarines are awesome, and still like to be around submariners.  Consequently, when I learned that the annual Submarine Birthday Ball was this past weekend, my wife and I cleared out schedule, hired a babysitter, got all fancied up, and went out to the gala.  Fun, fun!

No I'm not trying to choke her.  I just tend to take on weird poses when someone's taking my picture.  Go figure.

No I’m not trying to choke her. I just tend to take on weird poses when someone’s taking my picture. Go figure.


I’m one of two submarine officers at my command, and the other guy opted not to go.  Aside from him, I know one other submarine guy in San Diego (which is decidedly odd, considering the submarine force is such a small community – there are a total of 5,000 submarine officers on Active Duty, last I checked).  So I sat at the table with people I didn’t know (except for this Australian fellow whom I met a few weeks ago; he’s not a submariner but he opted to come out to have a good time), listened to a speech from an Admiral whom I remembered as sort of a douche from back when he was Commanding Officer of a boat on the waterfront with me when I was a newly minted Junior Officer, watched all the submarine wardrooms from the waterfront hoop and holler and generally have a good old time, and basically felt like a complete outsider.

And in a way, I guess I am.  I wear the dolphins, but I won’t be going to sea on a submarine again.  Which means I’m really not part of the club.  You see, a submarine wardroom is fourteen (plus or minus) guys (including the CO and XO) who spend a ridiculous amount of time together, know each other really well, and at least tolerate each other really well if they don’t actually enjoy each other.  It’s a pretty tight group and oddly enough, I rather miss it.  Seeing all the local wardrooms together, it hit in a way that had not before that I’m really actually done with all that, and I’m really not part of the group.

Oh they won’t tell me to piss off or anything like that.  Bubbleheads stick together.  Mostly.  But there’s a difference between someone who has gone to sea on a boat and someone who is, and will continue to, going to sea on a boat.

Suffice it to say, this Sub Ball was not nearly as fun as others I’ve gone to in the past, primarily for that reason – I wasn’t part of it.  Not really.  Which kind of stinks.

Not sure if I’ll go to another one.


Oh well.  Enough bellyaching.  Back to the fight.

Silence Like A Cancer Grows…

Yeah, I’m feeling a little bit saucy.  Hence the play on Simon and Garfunkel in the title of this post.

It’s been a while since I last posted anything.  And a lot’s happened in the interim.  So why haven’t I talked about it?  Ehh.  Or rather, meh.  No idea.  Didn’t feel like it?  I was doing other things?  Both? 🙂  Regardless, I’m back posting now, so all five of you who come around to read my musings can be happy again.  🙂

So….current events.

  1. I mentioned this before, but what the heck, it bears repeating.  I had another kid!  🙂 Or rather, my wife did.  I delivered him, though.  No, seriously.  When our daughter was born, almost five years ago (her birthday is the 26th), we had her at Wentworth Douglass Hospital in Dover, NH.  They are awesome.  State of the art, progressive (in the good way, not the political/economic way), and just all around cool.  Their birthing center was ridiculously nice, and comfortable, and…  You get the point.  Well, they made a point of letting dads assist in the actual delivery if they wanted, as opposed to them standing back, trying not to get their fingers crushed as their wives squeezed on their hands, and feeling helplessly useless.  So naturally, I was all over helping the midwife pull little Sibylla out when she arrived.  Talk about wicked cool.  For the first two boys, though, the hospital staff essentially gave me the Heisman, except they did let me cut the cord.  Yippee.  Not.  ‘Cause that’s not nearly as cool as doing the delivery.  Well, little Kiran (that the new guy’s name) we had at the Naval Hospital here in San Diego.  When they asked if we wanted anything, I piped up that I wanted to deliver.  And awesome of awesome, they said, “Sure!”  So as soon as the Doc got the head and shoulder positioned right, I got the nod, took hold, and voila!  I got to pull him out.  🙂  And then after the cord blood collection, I played with the placenta a little.  😛  Well…ok, I didn’t play with it.  But dude.  It may be the Engineer and the nerd in me coming out, but seriously, if you’ve never seen a placenta before, you’re missing out.  They are really cool.  😉  So anyway, our clan now consists of 4 kids (I say now, but this happened in the middle of September so it’s not all that recent.  Sorry).  And we’ve decided four is enough, so we took steps to ensure we don’t have to worry about it, if you know what I mean.
  2. Of far less importance, but still cool, I heard back from Writers of the Future regarding my 3rd quarter submission.  Honorable Mention.  Again.  Now that’s pretty cool.  But it makes 3 HMs now.  And granted, this one is from a new judge, since David Farland took over.  But I would really really like to bust over the HM hump into the higher categories, one of these days.  You know: semi-finalist, finalist.  Winner.  Oh well, only one way to do that: keep writing and submitting.  So I guess I’ll go ahead and do that.  🙂
  3. I’m doing NaNoWriMo again.  Last year, if you recall, I wrote Glimmer Vale for NaNo.  I had toyed with writing Glimmer’s sequel this year.  But instead I decided to just crank out short stories.  I did this for a couple reasons.  First, that was what I said I was going to do way back at the beginning of the year.  Second, on the Yahoo Group for writers who have attended Dean and Kris‘ workshops, they have this thing called Club 25 going on: a challenge to epublish 25 titles this yes.  Well I’m currently at ten, but I figured if I could crank out ten 5,000 word stories in November, I could totally catch up.  And three, I kind of fell off the writing wagon for a few months there, between moving to San Diego, settling into the new job, and welcoming a new kid.  I figured NaNo would be a great way to jumpstart myself.  🙂  So…how’s it going?  Well, so far the shorts are all novelettes.  And I’m lagging.  At present I’m something like 9,000 words behind.  So I’m beginning to doubt I’ll get to the 50,000 word mark for the month.  Unless I get a couple 5,600 word days down like I did last year.  Which is possible, so I’m not out of it yet.  🙂  Regardless, I’ll have finished a number of good stories this month so it’ll be a win either way.  And it’s been fun, so that’s what matters.  🙂
  4. I discovered some cool music.  This guy calls himself Miracle of Sound, and he writes songs based on games, movies, you name it.  His songs are quite fun.  I picked out two of my favorites to share with you.  The first is inspired by Skyrim, the second by Dragon Age 2.  Check them out, then go to YouTube and give the guy a like or six; he deserves it.  You can also buy his music from his website, quite reasonably.  
  5. My friend J E Medrick (you may recall I sung her praises for her first novel, Shackled, a while back) released a new novella the other day.  Youth is a great story about a prescription drug that will restore the elderly to youth and vigor, but at a price: everyone who takes Youth dies within a month.  Now, I’ve only read about half of it, because that’s all she sent me.  But it’s a fascinating concept, well executed.  I recommend you check it out.

That’s about it on the news front.  All in all, things are going pretty well.  I’m beginning to think about my goals for next year, and to evaluate how I did this year.  To be brief: not so good.  That writing hiatus in the summer and early fall really did in a number of my goals.  But that’s ok.  Life rolls happen, and these rolls were good ones, so I’m not going to beat myself up.  I am going to change my methodology for next year, though.  Enact a bit more nerd-ness and statistical tracking, that sort of thing.  It’s going to be great.

So I think I’m going to let you go with that.  I firmly intend to get back to posting with greater regularity, now that things are, more or less, settled here in my world.  Until then, here’s hoping all y’all in internet land have fun.

Just remember what I tell my kids: everyone likes a wino, but no one likes a whiner.  Moral of the story: when in doubt, drink more.  😛