The Latest Goings-On

It’s been a busy couple of weeks, and I figured I’d fill all y’all in on what’s been going on.

I spent a week up in Everett, WA two weeks ago, giving some training to a couple commands at the Naval Station there.  Then last week, I flew to Japan for an exercise at the base in Yokosuka.  Flew back on Saturday, and boy are my arms tired.  Yuck, Yuck.  🙂  Anyway, the travel was all for work, but it was also fun.  I like traveling, even when it’s to places I’ve been a dozen times or more (like Yokosuka).  There’s always something new and cool to see and do…and I get per diem.  🙂  That certainly helps.

Yesterday, my wife and I ran the Spring Sprint Triathlon, which takes place in Mission Bay here in San Diego.  We ran it together last year as well because it fell on our anniversary.  I managed to trim a minute from last year’s time overall, so not a bad showing.

And then today was our wedding anniversary.  🙂  Though we didn’t do much today – yesterday was our real celebration day.  But still, it’s cool.  Seven years.  Wow.  It feels like fifteen.  😛  Just kidding, of course.  🙂  It’s been lots of fun so far.  Challenging at time, but then what isn’t that’s worthwhile, right?  We’re looking forward to lots more good years ahead.  The more the better, right?  🙂

So that’s all cool.  But there have been some goings-on in the writing world to tell y’all about as well:

First, and the most fun, a relatively new book review blog, The Good, The Bad, & The Bizarre, wrote a very nice review of The Pericles Conspiracy the other day.  It appears they liked the book quite a bit, which tells me they are people of impeccable good taste.  So all y’all ought to go over and read, not just the review of my book, but their other offerings as well.

And then, if you haven’t done so already, now would be a great time to pick up The Pericles Conspiracy.  Because of goings-on #2: I decided to do an experiment in price pulsing, so for the next week, the book’s discounted to $0.99.  Just to see what happens when that happens.  🙂  Spread the word, eh?

Ok.  Goings-on #3.  Nick Mortise, the guy who read How NOT To Rescue A Damsel In Distress, has finished his audio renditions of my other three Larian Elesir stories.  I’ll be reviewing them over the next day or so, and then they should go on sale on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes within a couple weeks after that.  So stay tuned.

Lastly, the cover art for Tollard’s Peak, Glimmer Vale Chronicles #3 is just about ready, and I got the first set of comments back from my first readers.  At this point, I anticipate a mid-June release.  More to follow, including the cover reveal as soon as the last few action items for the cover are done and the bill paid.  So stay tuned for that as well.

So that’s it.  As you can see, a fair amount’s been happening while I’ve been silent.  Now that I’m back home and back in a normal routine, I’ll get back to posting chapters of The Pericles Conspiracy more regularly.  Until then, have fun, and don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.


Yeah, yeah, I know.  That doesn’t leave out very much.

You’ll just have to use your imagination.

Bragging Rights

I know I missed posting the next chapter of The Pericles Conspiracy yesterday.  Look for it later this afternoon.  For this post, however, I feel like bragging a bit, and I’m not even going to be humble about it.  😛

It’s been a busy couple of weeks, physically.

Two Thursdays ago, my wife’s friend informed her that she was injured and could not run the upcoming San Diego Half Marathon, and would either of us like to run it in her place?  The better half looked at me and asked if I was up for it.  Now, I ran that half marathon back in December, but I’ve not run long distance since then.  I’ve been focusing on my swimming because of the Triathlon I had coming up, swimming being my weakest portion of the Tri.  But I figured what the heck, so I said yes.

And so last Saturday I flashed my wife’s friend’s ID at the race expo and got her bib.  Then on Sunday I ran the San Diego Half Marathon.  I finished in 2:17 – over a quarter hour from my best (I set my personal record in the half marathon back in December – 2:00:26), but not too bad considering I had not trained for it at all and I didn’t even know I was going to run it until three days before the event.

But Lordy Lordy was I sore on Monday.  Hell, I was sore all Sunday afternoon.  It wasn’t until Friday that I was back to my usual self, but even then I had a pain in my left foot.

That was a bit of a problem, because this Sunday (today) I was scheduled to swim/bike/run the SEAL Sprint Triathlon on Coronado.  This I HAVE been training for.  So this morning I rolled out dark and early for the race.  I finished in 1:35.  I finished the same race last year (my first Triathlon ever) in 1:43.  So I improved by 8 minutes overall.  I was two minutes faster in each event (700m swim, 20k bike, 6k run) and trimmed 2 minutes from my swim-bike transition time.  Not too bad at all.  🙂

After the race, the Admiral (my wife) and the kids met me on Coronado and we hung out on the beach for a while, then we came home for lunch – hamburgers from the grill.  Yummy.  We’ve been hanging out in the back yard all afternoon.  The kids are messing around in their kiddie pool and I’ve been nursing a couple beers.  My foot still hurts a bit, but I feel great other than that.

So life is good.

Hope all is well with y’all.



Developments and Developments

Well, it’s been a while since I posted.  I’m totally not keeping up with my stated goal of at least once a week.  Here’s the thing.  Monday comes along and I get to thinking, I need to update my blog with this week’s writing numbers.  Then I get caught up in family stuff or just, you know, writing, and I don’t do it.  Next thing I know it’s Thursday, and then it’s stupid to update last week’s numbers because this week is almost done, so I put it off.

Consequently, I end up not posting at all.

And no, this is not on account of being embarrassed by my writing output lately.  Granted, that output sucks.  But I’m not afraid of the truth.



So what’s been going on?

Well, I ran another triathlon, the San Diego International Triathlon.  It hurt.  It was fun.  You know, what you would expect.  Somehow, despite the fact that the run portion of the course was completely, 100%, flat, I was slower than at the OC Triathlon, with its Godawful hills.  How is that possible?  Because I screwed up my nutrition plan during the bike portion, that’s how.  I basically drank and ate nothing on the bike, and that smacked me silly during the run.  It was literally the slowest 10k I’ve ever run.  But that’s ok.  The last couple miles, I ran with a dude with one leg who was having difficulty.  His wife met him about a third of a mile from the end and I bid him adieu until the finish line, but after keeping him psyched up for the last bit of the race, I had a better perspective on things.  However badly I did that day, it could be a lot worse.  And frankly if I’d lost my leg in a construction accident like that I did I’m not sure how psyched I would be to compete in triathlons.  So hats off to him.

On the writing front, progress is proceeding on Glimmer Vale 2.  I contracted with Jim Beveridge, through Lucky Bat Books, to do the cover for it.  He’s the guy who did the cover for Glimmer Vale, so you know it’ll be awesome.  Now I just have to finish the dang thing.

But not this week.  Last week, I got editorial comments back from a third beta reader for The Pericles Conspiracy.  Armed now with all that, I’ve spent the last several days fixing typos and clearing up plot holes in ye old massive tome.  I also did more cover work.  I tweaked the fonts on the ebook cover design a bit, and made a wrap-around for the print version.  Behold!

The Pericles Conspiracy Cover



Pericles Paperback


So things are shaping up for Pericles.  🙂  I intend to have the book released within the next week or two, in both trade paperback and ebook formats.  Stay tuned.

In other good news, it looks likely that I’ll be in the Mysterious Galaxy local authors meet and greet, probably next month.  Or at least sometime this fall.  I went by the store the other day to get some more books for my kids and flashed my fancy new author business card.  And they were like, “Dude, you’ve been a great customer and the manager knows you, we’d love to have you come out.  Why aren’t we selling your books already?”  So maybe I waited a bit too long to “out” myself as a local writer.  But I didn’t want to be the jackass who swaggers in and demands that they carry his books.  I wanted to be a good customer before I asked anything of them.  Not just for self-serving reasons, but because that seemed the courteous thing to do.  Looks like it’s going to pay off.

Right.  I’m signing off now.  I’m participating in another online workshop that Dean Wesley Smith is giving, and the first weeks’ videos are up.  I’m going to watch me a few before I hit the sack.

Until next time, be well everyone.  Cheers.


New Wheels -or- The Great Bicycle Theft Incident

Here is another tale of woe.

Rewind the clock a week, to Friday the 17th.  My wife went out that evening for a girl’s night out and I took care of the kids.  She got back a little before midnight; the rest of us were already in bed.  She distinctly remembers closing the garage door and locking up before coming to bed.

The next morning, the 18th, I went out into the garage to check on laundry, since our laundry facilities are in the garage.  The garage door was wide open.

I shouted back over my shoulder, “Hey you left the garage door open last night.”

She replied, “No I didn’t…”

It was at that point that I noticed the two empty bicycle stands in our garage.  A second later, she arrived at my side and saw the same. Someone had stolen both of our bicycles.  The perp also had apparently gone into our minivan, because we noticed some thing out of place within it.

To say that Ericka was upset was to say that the federal deficit over the last five years is a paltry sum, not worth considering.  Tears flowed.  Self-flagelation along the lines of “How could I be so stupid” ensued.  It was a bad morning.

But wait, it gets better.

I called 911.  15 minutes later, I spoke with an actual person, who put me on hold again to transfer me to the Police.  Note: do not ever get into a life or death situation in San Diego.  Or more to the point, while in San Diego make sure you walk around with enough medical supplies and weapons to be able to deal with the life or death situation yourself because the cops ain’t going to.  Not with hold times like that.  A few minutes later, the police picked up and I described what happened.

“Were any weapons stolen?”


“Did the stolen items amount to more than $5,000?”

I did a quick estimate in my head.  I figured the two bikes together were worth about $4,500.


“Ok, you need to go to our website and file a report online.  Once you do that, we’ll process it in a few days.”

“Wait, aren’t you going to send out an officer to investigate?  I haven’t touched the minivan or the bike stands, so I haven’t disturbed fingerprints or anything.”

“No, they don’t do that.”

“Beg pardon?”

“They don’t take fingerprints, and unless the value was over $5,000 they’re not going to send someone over.”

“Well, there’s probably an officer patrolling nearby.  Can you ask one of them to swing by so they can talk to my wife?  She’s pretty upset.”

“Sorry, they don’t do that.”

It’s good to know the public services here in grand old California are top notch, what with the ludicrous amounts of taxes people who live here are forced to pay.  Oh wait, that money goes to other things.  Never mind…  Oh and did I mention the roads here absolutely suck?  Yeah, I mean they blow hard.  Even Pennsylvania has better roads than some areas I’ve driven through here in California.  That’s how bad they are.  Again, your tax money (not) at work.

Anyway, I gritted my teeth to hold back some unpleasant words and set about finding the serial numbers of our bikes.

So that’s the woe part of the story.  The worst part is my bicycle is my transportation to and from work, so this little episode really put a crimp in our style this week, let me tell you.

But wait, I can hear you saying now.  Kingswood, you told us you ran a Triathlon last weekend.  How’d you do that with your bike stolen?

Glad you asked.  Now comes the good part of the story: Moment Cycle Sports and USAA.

Moment Cycle Sports is the bike/triathlon shop around the corner from my house, the place where Ericka got her triathlon package, if you recall.  They rent bicycles.  They just happened to have a carbon frame road bike in my size available for rental on Saturday.  So they saved my bacon.  They also revealed that a whole lot of people in my area have had their bikes stolen lately.  Apparently there’s this guy who roams the neighborhoods late at night with a universal garage door remote, clicking away.  He just rolls into whichever garages open and helps himself to whatever he likes.


Of course, when Ericka learned about this, she felt a lot better.  This didn’t happen because she was careless, but because of a clever douchebag.

Now, USAA.  I love me some USAA.  Can’t say enough good things about them.  Their rates are awesome, their customer service is awesome, and when it comes to fulfilling claims…  Well, I’ve had to file a number of claims over the years and they have never been anything but fast, courteous, and eager to help.  Top notch company, USAA.

Anyway, it took a couple days to find my bike’s serial number, because I bought it three years ago and I’ve lost the receipt and while I thought I’d registered it with Specialized, I apparently had not.  Fortunately, the bike store I bought it from was able to locate the original sales documents and email them to me.  We submitted the receipts on Tuesday evening.  Thursday morning, USAA called and said everything was good to go and we should have the claim money (just under $3,900 – we have a $500 deductible) deposited into our checking account within 24-48 business hours.  Friday morning, the money was there.

So Friday afternoon, I went by Moment for a bike fit.  Turns out I need a larger frame than I recall from before.  I’m a 56; I could have sworn my Roubaix was a 52, but I could be wrong.  Maybe it was a 54?


Point is, they sized me up and brought forth a selection of recommendations from the bikes they had in stock.  One in particular struck my eye as I was waiting for them to come back, and I was gratified to see it on the list.  My bikes before have all been Specialized, but I decided to open my aperture a bit on this purchase.  I’m glad I did.  Once I set tush on that bike that stood out, I was hooked.  I picked the new wheels up today.  Behold:

IMG_2936 IMG_2937

It’s a Cervelo S2.  Aerodynamic carbon frame. SRAM Rival components (I’ve always rode Shimano 105s before, but the Rival is on the same level quality-wise and it works well, just differently, so I was happy to make the switch), pretty nice wheels, and it rides great.  Plus, it’s last year’s model, so I got it at a discount.  😉  Man, it accelerates quickly, and it feels…I guess the best word is tight.  I like it, and from the reviews I’ve found online it seems all sorts of others agree with me.

We’ll pick up Ericka’s replacement bike at the end of the week.  She’s getting the same bike she had before; she saw no need to change.

So all’s well that ends well, I guess.  But I’m still going to rip the fingernails off the guy who swiped our stuff if ever I find him.

Tri and Tri and Tri again…

Been a while since I posted.  Sorry.  Or not.  What can I say?  Life’s been fun, and busy.


It’s also been a while since I updated my writing progress for the year.  Wait for it.


Anyway, this past weekend was full of fun.  On Saturday, three buddies from work and I went up to Lake Mission Viejo, about an hour and a half north of San Diego, and checked into the Courtyard Marriott.  Then Sunday morning, we swam/biked/ran the OC Triathlon.  Olympic Length, this one was: 1,500m swim, 40k bike, then 10k run.

It hurt.  It was awesome.

It sucked.  It was fun.

I crossed the finish line intact.  As I knew I would.


I can’t say I’m terribly proud of my time, though.  I’ve run a lot of 10ks in the past, but I have never EVER taken longer than an hour to complete one.  Hell, I’ve never taken longer than about 55 min.  But this one? 1:02.  62 minutes!  Holy cow, that’s a sucky time.  But in my defense, there were two monster – and I mean MONSTER – hills in the middle of the run, and they totally destroyed me.

And then there was the swim.  At one point, I got the bright idea to switch to backstroke for a little while.  Back when I was on Swim Team, backstroke was my fastest stroke, so I figured what the hell?  Well, I quickly lost my bearings, and when I turned back over I had veered probably 200 yards off course, so I had to swim a whole lot longer than I should have.


But that doesn’t matter.  What matters is we finished it successfully.  And then celebrated in an appropriate manner.


It was, in all, very fun, if painful.  The next one (in about a month) will be better (and faster).

Yeah, yeah.  I know.  What about the writing?


Weeks 18 and 19 I wrote nothing.  Zip.  Zero.  Nada.  Week 20 (last week), I wrote…wait for it….1,568 words.  Pretty bad, right?  I guess.  But I wasn’t really stressing about it; had other things on my mind.  And besides, those 1,568 words are the start of Glimmer Vale‘s sequel.  That’s pretty awesome, right there.  As you may (or may not) recall, one of the goals for this year was to write two sequels to said book.  I figured it was about time I got rolling.

So that’s what I’m up to now.

I can hear the questions now.  What about the sequel to Masters?  It’s still there.  I still have about 10k words written on it.  But frankly I feel like it needs to percolate a bit more.  So I’m shifting over to the Glimmer Vale Chronicles.

So that’s what I’ve been up to.  I’m going to sign off now, and do a little more actual writing.



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…


Last year, I set a goal of running a triathlon.  I then promptly got doored on my bicycle and broke a finger in my hand, putting me in a cast for eight weeks and a splint for another month-plus.  That precluded biking and swimming, and running sucked too because it made the inside of my cast all gooey for two days afterwords.  Consequently, no triathlon for me last year.

But this year, I was not going to be denied.  At the start of the year, I had my eye on the SuperFrog half-iron man, put on my the Navy SEALs here in San Diego, on Coronado.  It takes place at the end of September, and will be TOTALLY kick-ass.

Now I know what you’re thinking.  How in the hell do you think you’ll be able to do a half iron man by September?  Others are thinking what the hell is a half iron man?

So.  A quick primer on Triathlons.  There are several varieties.

  1. Sprint Triathlon.  Generally involves about 500m swim, 20-ish km (~12 mile) bike, and 5-ish km (~3.1 mile) run.  Not hard at all individually, but taken as a whole, more challenging than you’d think.
  2. Olympic Distance.  As an example, the OC Triathlon, which my friends and I are planning to do in May, is a 1.5 km swim, 50 km (31 mile) bike, and 10 km (6.2 mile) run.  Quite a bit more challenging.
  3. Half Iron Man. 1.2 mile swim.  56 mile bike.  Half marathon (13.1 miles).
  4. Iron Man. Double that.

There are some variations in the lengths but that’s pretty much how it rolls.

I shall now pause while various people’s eyes pop out of their heads.  🙂

Now, to answer the question, I could totally be ready for a half iron man by the end of September.  I’ve run marathons.  It takes ~6 months to train for one, and that’s starting from nothing, the way the Team in Training does.  I’m not starting from nothing.  But…  I’m not sure that I’ll actually go out for SuperFrog this year.  We’ll see how some other races go first.

Anyway, today two friends and I ran the SuperSEAL Sprint Triathlon, which is put on by the same guys who put on SuperFrog.  It’s a bit different from the sprint Tri that I described above in two respects: the run is 6k, not 5, and the swim, though advertised as 500m, was in fact more like 800m, based on my buddy’s GPS.  This was my first time running a Triathlon.  I gotta say, it was fun.  I also underestimated the amount of effort required for it.

Put it this way.  I run a half marathon in 2:10:00 – 2:20:00 or so.  I finished today’s triathlon in 1:43:00.  Not a great time, but I’m not interested in speed, at least for now; just in finishing.  So anyway, this thing took nearly the same amount of exertion (in terms of time anyway) as a half marathon.  I would say the half marathon is, in fact, quite harder.  Certainly a marathon is harder than a century (a 100 mile bike ride), so I don’t feel bad saying that.  And yes, I’ve done both.  But that’s not the point.  Point is, thinking of the events individually, I was like, “Yeah I’ve got this easy.”  But as we all know the whole tends to be greater than the sum of the parts.  And this was not easy.  It was not excessively challenging by any means, but not a cake walk.

As I said above, we’re planning another tri in May, up in OC.  This one will be longer, more challenging.  Between now and then, I need to spend a lot more time in the pool.  And get a different wetsuit. This swim was far more challenging than planned.  Part of it was my swim conditioning.  Part of it was that my wetsuit (which is the suit I bought back in 1999 for scuba diving in Hawaii) is not very good for normal swimming.  For one thing, I’m a little bit bigger in the chest (and belly, I’ll admit) now than I was then, so I’m already stretching the wetsuit just by wearing it.  For another, it’s a bit thicker than your standard triathlon wetsuit.  So trying to breath while reaching over my head while swimming freestyle was very hard.  Backstroke?  Sidestroke?  Not a problem.  But freestyle just didn’t work.  It was quite uncomfortable and annoying; I ended up in the very back of my wave, and was overtaken by a whole lot of swimmers from the wave behind me.  Which was annoying, and a little bit embarrassing.

So for next time, more swimming first.  Fortunately, it’s getting warmer now.  And when it’s warm, we spend our Sunday mornings in Mission Bay, a park a short distance north of where I live.  There are nice sheltered beaches there where they kids don’t have to contend with waves (which scare them).  And a couple nice convenient islands that I can swim back and forth to.  So that will be a big help in preparing better for the next one.

Anyway, long story short this morning rocked.  Not only did we have a lot of fun during the race, but at the end we all cracked open cans of Guiness, because after an endurance event there’s nothing better than a good beer.  And it’s St. Patrick’s day so really it’s required.  🙂