Linda Maye Adams

Soldier, Storyteller

Air Force Drill Team


This week was the Air Force’s 69th birthday, so I got an opportunity to see the Air Force Drill team.  The performance I saw was about five minutes.  I found a video online of a longer one–bear in mind that those have real bayonets.  Only the most elite train for these, and they have to be very athletic.   Just watching, I can understand why!

 

Sweat


Full moon with bats flying in front of it.

Vampire hunter Abby feels like she’s all washed up. Approaching fifty, she’s been derided by her fellow hunters.

The gym is the last place she should be.

But she has a mission, and it might be the last things she does.

Available from Amazon for .99.

A Writer’s Guide to Military Culture


Writer's Guide to Military Culture

Former soldier and Desert Storm veteran Linda Maye Adams walks you step-by-step to help the civilian fiction writer understand how military culture works.  From enlistment to war, this book takes you on a tour of what it’s like to be a soldier.  Do soldiers curse non-stop?  Do they always yell, “Yes, Drill Sergeant!” after every sentence?  What is the difference between an officer and an enlisted soldier?  If you don’t know anything about the military, this book will tell you where you can research information without having to go through basic training yourself.

Available from Amazon for $2.99

Hollywood Military: Turning Down Promotions


Still picking on Star Trek here, though I’ve seen this example on shows like Criminal Minds where a really good promotion is offered to a character and they turn it down to stay with the ship/group/etc.

The Hollywood Version:

In one of the early episodes of Star Trek the Next Generation, Riker is offered command of a ship and turns it down so can stay on the Enterprise.  He is later offered command again and turns it down again, for the same reasons. After the second time, Starfleet warns him he might not have another opportunity.

In a way, it’s kind of a pointless episode because we all know the actor isn’t leaving, so Riker’s going to turn it down.  But they make it kind of noble, like he’s turning down opportunities because he’s doing good where he is.

The Military Version:

The Army—and probably the other services—want you to progress in your career.  So much so that they provide opportunities for going to college, such as a program on Fort Lewis where you could go to school on work time.

In fact, you’re expected to progress.

If you don’t, that’s a big problem.  The Army has a time in service/time in grade thing set up, so if you have too much time and haven’t progressed, they’ll kick you out.  There is no option other than to progress.  You can’t homestead where you are.

We had a first sergeant in charge of our company (first sergeant is like a high up personnel manager).  He liked working with the troops, and being a first sergeant gave him first hand experience with that.  A promotion opportunity opened itself up so that he could be a command sergeant major, which would have put him in a more administrative position.

He didn’t want it.  He wanted to stay where he was.

The battalion’s sergeant major told he had two choices: Take it or retire.

So my first sergeant retired.

Hollywood makes it sound like it’s a noble thing to turn down a promotion, but to the Army it’s more like “What’s wrong with you?”

Hollywood Military vs. Real Military


I was watching Star Trek The Next Generation the other day.   It was the pilot episode, part II.  Q (John Delancie) shows up and Picard yells “At ease!”

That’s a standard military order.

What he said next wasn’t: “That’s an order!”

I’ve heard this particular phrase from Hollywood military a lot.  Turned up on Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea on a fairly regular basis, and seems to be in just about anything in the media with military.

Never heard an officer in the Army actually say that phrase.

I think this shows up in Hollywood is because a lot of people really don’t understand the rank structure or officers vs. enlisted.  We’re taught right from the first day at basic training about following the orders of the people in charge.

Because in a war, not following the orders can cause soldiers to get killed.  In the film A Few Good Men, Tom Cruise gets a Marine colonel on the stand and traps him into confessing because that movie did understand how orders worked (Tom Cruise was pretty far away from anything military in his characterization though).  Everyone kept trying to say the people involved hadn’t followed orders, but the colonel was adamant that everyone followed orders because lives would be in jeopardy if they didn’t.

The officers don’t need to tell the people under them what they say is an order.  We all know it is.

This is a 7 step illustration of what “at ease” looks like.

Layers: A Desert Storm Veteran and September 11


Washington Monument at sunsetOn September 11, 2001, the world changed forever when four planes crashed, including one that struck the Pentagon in Washington, DC.

Linda Maye Adams describes the events of the day in Washington DC from a Desert Storm veteran’s perspective.  This story moves chronologically through what happened and how it impacted the people who lived in that area, capturing the emotion of an unforgettable day.

Available from your favorite bookseller, including Amazon.

The Disruptive Influence of Star Trek


Today is Star Trek’s 50th anniversary.  That’s hard to believe.  I still remember when it was the 20th anniversary.  A big deal to me then, but not as much to the outside world.  Now it’s become more mainstream, and even some aspects of it embedded in our culture.

But I also remember when people looked at it and sneered with utter contempt.  All they saw were the spaceships, the pointed ears, and the monsters.  My guitar teacher would tell me repeatedly that her son had worked on the set and how fake everything looked, like she was trying to justify what was wrong with me watching and enjoying it.  A fellow student informed me repeatedly that Little Rascals was soooo much better (it was airing every day on KTLA at the time).

No one got it.

Moreover, I’m not sure the people who didn’t get it made any effort to try.  It was just something for weirdos and nerds, and those were strange people.

But it was representative of a small bit of change that started, that caught the attention of a few.  And the thing about Star Trek is that it had so many layers that the appeal varied from person to person.  Some people liked how it took current events and put them in a science fiction format.  I didn’t understand enough of the news to understand those events, so I missed most of that completely.

Mine was more simple:  I grew up in a world where books didn’t have much for women readers.  Women could get married, they could be rescued—but they couldn’t have adventures.  Though women were making their way out into the working world slowly and change was happening, the expectation was that women would get married, have kids, and cook and clean.

I didn’t like that being the only expectation.  I wanted choices.

And here we had Uhura on the bridge of the Enterprise, handling communications.  Even though I was pretty young and didn’t know much about the military beyond what I’d seen on Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and read in submarine books, I could tell it was an important position.

Looking at it now, her role is disappointing, and Star Trek doesn’t have a good track record when it comes to women.  Then, it was better than we were getting anywhere else.

But the other thing Star Trek had was that it said things would be okay in the future and we would resolve our differences.

We need that more than ever now.  But is anyone up to taking the chance like Gene Roddenberry did 50 years ago?

Despite having the internet where anyone can say literally anything, there’s even more influences trying to hold this change back.  A new version of Star Trek is coming out, and I heard one of the movie actors saying that no one was ready for the Star Trek of the 1960s.  I don’t think he understood the original Star Trek and what it did—it was more likely the studios were not ready for it.  They’ve become so risk adverse that they want something safe that will make money; a show or movie that pushes the envelope scares them because it might cause controversy.  It might not—gasp!—not make any money.

Star Trek was never about playing it safe.  It was one of the things the executives really hated, and what the fans really loved.

We need this disruption.

Mandatory Fun in the Military


We’ve got a summer office party in a few weeks.  Hopefully the weather will be nice.

It’s scheduled for a workday, but attendance is optional.  I know a lot of my coworkers won’t go, preferring to work.  I’ll be attending, for the very reason it’s optional and honestly, no work!

But when I was in the army, a day like that was quite a bit different.  They were called unit organizational days.  Always indoors at someplace like the enlisted club or community center.  Food, music, dancing.  You could bring your spouses.

It was always on Saturday, when we were off. We were REQUIRED to attend.

And, of course, for those, we had to stay there for the entire time, like we were punching a time clock.  Usually they bussed us over, so we really had no choice about how long we stayed.  I’m an introvert, which means I get my energy from solitude and quiet, not from crowds, so it was exhausting to stay that long.

Mandatory fun is not fun.

Military Readings around the Web

Way too many articles I see in the press sensationalize some negative aspect of being a veteran or being in the military.  The worst offense for me is portraying women veterans as victims.  So I always look for articles that are more positive.

Why Women Veterans have Become so Entrepreneurial – from Inc Magazine

V-Wise – This is a program that brings women veterans together at a conference for training on both how to start a business and how to grow one.  I wish I’d seen this last year, since they had one in my area.  I shall have to monitor the site, since I’m not flying across country in January!

The Healer’s Tent


Seated woman holding a lantern in front of her.Magic and muzzle loaders blaze on the battlefield.

Healer Nalani gets the aftermath—the injuries, the complaints, and the people needing help.

But even though she’s in the rear, she’s finding she’s not immune to war either.

Who helps the healer?

Available on Amazon and your favorite booksellers for 99 cents.

Devaluing the Writer


It seems like more and more, magazines and publishers are trying to get writers to give away their work so the companies can make tons of money.  It’s always been a problem–it was common for me to run across a magazine that said “We don’t pay, but we’ll give you exposure.”

It screams that they don’t think the writer is all that important.

And this morning, I saw something along this line that floored me.

It was a workshop being given by an editor of a publishing company.  And the headline advertising it was along the lines of: “Books become best sellers because of the editor.”

Nowhere in there is the writer who created the story and learned the skills to make a good story.

Nowhere in there is that even an editor can’t turn a horrendously bad book into a best seller.

Nowhere in there is that without a writer to provide a story, the editor wouldn’t have a job.

And we’re not all that important, hmm?

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