I am so thankful for all that God has blessed me with. Great family, friends, and life. My wish to all of you is for a happy and safe Thanksgiving and and that you take a moment to think of all the good things in your life. We tend to focus on what we don’t have instead of what we do.
Inspiration comes from so many places. Sometimes a TV commercial, sometimes a scene out your window as you drive by in your car, or more often, from personal experience. In my own case, I recently had a strange pink spot on my upper leg. I went in for one of my usual sinus/ear conditions and while I was there asked the Doctor if they could look at the spot. They did not know what it was either, so they sent me to a Dermatologist. The Dermatologist was puzzled so they did what they always do, they sliced it off and sent it to a lab. The results were somewhat disquieting – cancer. It was some kind of squamous cell carcinoma, maybe Boren’s disease. I am probably cured, they think they got it all, but the C word can be frightening. All this led me to write two pieces of fiction – one was The Spot and the other is The Hair. They are submitted for publication so if they are accepted I will post the link, if not, I will post them here for all to read.
A special thanks to Bob and his wife at Evermore Nevermore in Mesa. They are located at 127 W. Main Street, Mesa, AZ. Their phone number is: 480-964-4624 Evermore Nevermore is a very cool store with Steampunk, SciFi, comic books and all sorts of interesting items. They also allowed me to do the book signing at the Steampunk Streets III for Second Fridays in Mesa AND, even better, they will be selling copies of my book, The Travelers’ Club and the Ghost Ship in their store. Please stop by, buy some stuff, and say hi to Bob for me.
Just had the double whammie – my wedding anniversary and my wife’s birthday, both just three days apart. It was our 27th Wedding Anniversary and she is now – well she is forever young. I started calling it the double whammie early in our marriage because despite being so close together, two distinct gifts are always needed for the spouse. My wife got mad at me a few years back when I was referring to it as “her wedding anniversary” instead of “our wedding anniversary.” My response was that if it was “our wedding anniversary,” why was she the only one that got a gift? This year we did the couples’ massage together, so it was a joint gift. For her birthday, we went to dinner with our close friends at the White Chocolate Grill and saw the movie, “In Time.” She also got a new fluffy robe since the temperature has finally dropped here in Phoenix.
Friday night went great! We met hundreds of fellow Steampunk fans and were lucky to be set up next to the Arizona Steampunk Society, of which I am a proud member, and a Steampunk band called Jellied Brainz that was very fun to listen to just a few spots down from us. Vinnie Alascia joined me at the booth selling original copies of his books as well. It was great to meet people, sign copies of The Travelers’ Club and the Ghost Ship and hand out bookmarks. It also sparked some more Kindle sales, which is always nice. I glad that I had a lot of friends at the event and the time went very quickly, even though we were there for close to six hours. Thanks also to my wife for helping to set up and letting me use her car since my own has no space for anything.
When I was in the Air Force I was stationed at Hickam AFB in Hawaii for most of my career. I was an Avionics Guidance Controls and Systems Specialist level 9. That meant I worked on all the cool electronics on the aircraft. I was trained on every aircraft in the Air Force inventory, one of three people at the time, so they put me in Hawaii because so many different planes go through there. All of that is in my service record, and I freely tell it to people. Occasionally, people want more. Last week I had to tell a person that I couldn’t really say any more. They continued to press, so I made it clear that I REALLY could not say anymore because what I did was top secret. There were many missions and things I worked on that I swore upon pain of imprisonment never to talk about. I imagine some 50 years from now they will be declassified, but for now that still holds.
Many military people face the same situation, but the funny thing for me was the reaction of the people who heard me. When I was younger, people would smirk and laugh like I was trying to sound important. Now, people conjure up that I was a spy or sniper or some such thing. The reaction and the sudden mystique threw me for a loop. I thought about it for a long time before I realized that when you are secretive or silent about anything, people fill in the void with really interesting theories. The reality is I was a glorified aircraft mechanic, which is pretty much the same job as an auto mechanic but with a bigger vehicle. You hook up diagnostic computers, you replace parts, you test drive stuff. Mainly you get cut on jagged metal, get bruised and doing a boring job. Sure, people’s lives depend on you, but its no different than the guy that replaces the brake pads on your car, and when did you think they were glamorous?
I did work in an area with red lines on the ground. If you crossed the red lines without your top secret clearance badge, you would be shot. No kidding. By saying that, people again are probably thinking it was some glamorous place. It was an old hangar that still had bullet marks from the Pearl Harbor attack, coated with paint some 50 years thick. Yes, we did things I can never talk about, but they were not worthy of any “knowing” looks or smiles.
The reaction did teach me something about writing though. Let the reader fill in the silent blanks. They will fill them with more wonder than you can. It’s one reason the movie is never as good as the book. The movie is limited by budget, time, acting ability, and ultimately reflects someone else filling in the blanks. They rarely fill them in the way the reader did when they imagined it. So, I will revel in the respect I receive for my boring military service simply because I can’t talk about it.