Tootsie Roll Connection to Marines

A fun bit of history from Harvey Stanbrough:

How Tootsie Rolls Accidentally Saved Marines During the Korean War

Philadelphia Korean War Memorial

I was in Philadelphia this weekend for the BookBaby Conference (more on that next week).  Just a block or so from the hotel was the Korean War Memorial.

This is a view of the entire memorial.  The inside pillars have the lists of names.  Most of those who were killed in action were privates.

Pillars of the Korean War Memorial, showing the ribbons from the war, and the list of names.

I did a shot of the medals wall because of the top image, the one with the Korean flag.  That’s a unit citation that was given to military units that served during the war.  The soldiers who served with the unit during the war would have worn that as a permanent part of their uniform.

Why am I bringing this up?  Because it comes with the unit.  My company at Fort Lewis was awarded this citation for being in the Korean War, so all soldiers currently assigned wore it on our class A uniforms (that’s the fancy uniform).  Once they transfer out, they cannot no longer wear it.

Up angle of the medals wall, with the Korean unit citation

A statue at the entrance to the memorial.

Statue of kneeling soldier. Plaque reads "The Final Farewell"

And a plaque for the nurses who served.

Plaque reads "Dedicated to the nurses of the Korean War" and shows three women

Winnie the Pooh and World War I

On rooftop, little girl with pony tails hugs giant white teddy bear and looks at the full moon and the galaxy.
Small cute girl sitting with toy bear on the roof and looking at the moon


This was something I didn’t know, but it makes sense.  Winnie the Pooh was created by A.A. Milne to explain war to his son:

Every stuffed friend in the Hundred Acre Woods is a child-friendly representation of a characteristic of post-traumatic stress. Piglet is paranoia, Eeyore is depression, Tigger is impulsive behaviors, Rabbit is perfectionism-caused aggression, Owl is memory loss, and Kanga & Roo represent over-protection. This leaves Winnie, who Alan wrote in for himself as Christopher Robin’s guide through the Hundred Acre Woods — his father’s mind.

The Army and Women in the WAC

Interesting article on what happened when the Army let women enlist in the WAC during World War II.  A lot of one size fits all, even when it didn’t…

And still somewhat true when I enlisted.  Uniforms were made for the average man, so it was hard to get ones that fit right (and also shorter men).  My “small” flack vest was so big that when I sat down, it pushed up the back of my helmet.

A fun military story

This is a story from my days at Fort Lewis that popped up recently.

We’d gone to do a readiness exercise where a bunch of people verify we have dog tags, our emergency forms get updated, and shots.  I don’t recall any more how we got there but it was too far to walk.

Several of us finished early, so one of the lieutenants volunteered to take us back in his car.  I sat in the front seat, and the other soldier in the back.  Before we left though, a bunch of other soldiers got done.  So they hopped in, too.

It was like a clown car.  We were all packed in there.  I was squished in the front seat because there was a big guy jammed into the seat with me.

So we’re driving down the street and we hear the “Whoop! Whoop!” of a police siren!

The military police pulled us over because were were overcrowded in the car.

The MP walked over, took one look at the lieutenant and went, “Ah, sir!”

The result was that I ended up getting out and riding in the back of the police car, which followed the lieutenant back to the unit.

I was mortified!  Couldn’t wait to get out of the car when we arrived.


And how to spill the tricky word lieutenant.  It’s easy because all you have to remember is the first part of the word:

Ten + Ant.  Add the Lieu in front of that.

Letting go of Army Things

I’m still in the process of tackling the black hole of my closet.  I pulled out nearly everything in the closet:

Boxes stacked on the floor, along with presskits, photos, and fanzines.

This is most of it, though there’s a separate pile of books, and a small pile of movie posters in tubes.  The two piles in the back are donations, and electronic discard.

As part of all this clean-up, I decided to give away two items that came from Desert Storm.

The first was a prayer rug that I purchased at the airport while I was waiting to go home on emergency leave.

The reason I’m donating it to the thrift shop is that so much changed since then.  We had September 11, and I was in DC when the Pentagon was hit.  I experienced all of that and was terrified and in shock for two weeks.  Plus the political climate here is just poisonous…it’s just not something I want contaminating me.  And the rug was sitting rolled up in the closet and that’s all it was going to do.

The second thing was a small ceramic Siamese cat.  It was given to me by my best friend going into Desert Storm.  I believe she gave it to me after the war ended.

The war and an event that happened during the war destroyed her.  I watched this bright cheerful friend dip into depression and great anger.  A lot of us–the lower enlisted–tried to help her (leadership appeared disconnected to the problem from our level), but she was stuck.  She was smoking three packs a day and not taking care of herself.  A relationship with a married man finally ended, and she decided to married to a guy she’d known for two weeks–for the reason, “I need a man in my life, and it might as well be him.”  This man gave even the male soldiers the creeps.  Two weeks after she got married, she was divorced.  It was so hard for me to watch, and I found she was dragging me down.  I had to quietly separate myself from her.  She eventually failed the physical training test multiple times by intent and got kicked out.  I have no idea what happened to her.

While I liked the ceramic cat, it also reminded me not of the good times I had with her, but all the bad things when she went downhill.

Sometimes some memories are best left without any reminders.

Socks, Socks, My Kingdom for a Sock

When I was growing up, we had what we called “The Orphan Pile” in the laundry room.  It was a bunch of my father’s socks.  He always bought black socks, same brand, all looked alike.

Then they got washed.

And some would get eaten by the dryer or the washer.  Or maybe the cats or dogs.

So they would go into the orphan pile with the hope of eventually find the missing sock.  Somehow, despite all starting out in the same color and same brand, they emerged from the washer mutated and none of them would ever have mates again.

What the heck does the dryer do with them?

Robotech Reboot?

I’m going to pay someone to do the cover for book 3 my GALCOM series, Cursed Planet, so I can finally start doing paper books.  One of the tasks in preparation is to research book covers that I like (maybe I’ll post the list for your viewing pleasure).  When I went to the Tor site, I ran across this article on the time being right for a reboot for the Robotech series.

For the most part, I don’t like the reboots.  The studios often see the original series as a moneymaker because of the name…and take no time to understand why it’s still popular.

But Robotech…

Maybe.  Because of the reasons it’s still a fan favorite is the characterization and the story.  That’s more universal and can be done well.

I saw it when it was aired in the U.S. in 1985.  I was hooked on the characters, especially in the first part of the trilogy, the Macross Saga.  I do think it the remaining two parts read like the producers didn’t realize how popular the series would be and threw together two more parts.  They don’t quite fit together, and the characterization is the best on the first one.

If you haven’t seen it, the series is available on Netflix.  But if you’re military, you’re going to cringe, plain and simple.  The writers threw rank randomly in the story like it was meaningless jargon and there’s serious disrespect for superior officers.  If there’s a reboot, it wouldn’t be a hard fix.

Crying Planet Sample Chapter

The first book in my GALCOM Universe series is featured in the 2018 Military SF StoryBundle.  I’m one of 3 veterans in the book.  Here’s a sample of the first chapter (psst.  I ‘ve been told Siri can read it like an audio book).

Chapter 1

The S.C. Kangjun’s recycled air smelled like artificial eucalyptus. Ordinarily that would have bothered Hope Delgado, because artificial anything got into her nose and made it all itchy.

What it didn’t smell like was ghost. No moldy, itchy, crawling-up-between-the-walls ghost smell.

It was the first time in her life Hope hadn’t been bothered by ghosts.

The conference room the crewman had shown her to had to be the wrong place. She’d expected a bland room with chairs and a table, but this looked like a suite in a five-star hotel. She glanced down at her threadbare dress and stretched-out pullover sweater, and then at the plush blue carpet and velvet curtains.

The contrast had invisible red fingernails clawing to get out of her stomach. The crewman was gone, and she was alone, and at any moment, someone would eye her clothes and chase her out.

The outer room had a dining area and a seating alcove for meetings. Doors off the main dining room led to a small office, a kitchenette, and a bathroom—head; they called it a head on a ship. Glass cases displayed books carefully arranged by size. Her circuit of the room took her past a suit of armor that stared at her through a slit. She stopped in front of it, expecting ghostly vibrations, but it was lifeless.

It stood guard next to the large picture window that revealed the outside world: an array of stars scattered like glittery jewels. Hope had never seen so many before! She could have stood there forever, but the door behind her whooshed open.

An officer entered. She knew he was an officer because the first captain had already told her, “Follow the eagle. That’s the man in charge.” And this man had a silver eagle on the points of his collar. He wore the camo tech uniform, or CTU, that all the people on the ship wore—the pants and shirt changed to match their surroundings. He was in his late forties, hair growing gray, and ghosts behind his eyes.

Hope didn’t know too much about military officers, but he had the regal bearing of a man who expected to be obeyed.

Like the man who proposed to her, then expected her to call up ghosts for profit.

She pushed that thought out of her head. It had been nearly twenty years since that disaster, and she’d been naïve then.

The officer stopped and gave her a long, assessing look.

Hope stared back at him steadily.

She knew she looked like a dying butterfly, as a neighbor who’d thought he was being helpful had once called her: too thin and aging too fast. But there wasn’t normal anything when it came to the family curse. Her father’s hair had gone gray at thirty and cold white three years later; Hope’s hair sprouted gray like weeds.

Finally, the officer flapped his hand at the seating area by the window. She sat on the edge of the sofa’s cushion. This probably wouldn’t take long. Everyone was afraid they would catch what she had.

He sat carefully far away from her, tossing a hard-backed green book and pen onto the table.

“Ms. Delgado, I’m Colonel Graul, commanding officer of the S.C. Kangjun and sector commander.”

He stared at Hope again. “How did you convince GALCOM to get you out here?” he asked.

The subtext of the question was clear as the stars outside, and it left a bad taste her mouth. “I didn’t. I wanted nothing to do with no alien ghosts. GALCOM approached me and asked for my help.”

“For a lot of money and Demory metal.”

She stared down at the carpet. It was thick enough to bury her feet in. She wasn’t wearing the bracelet here; didn’t need to.

“The Demory metal saved my life, Colonel.” She made a point to use his rank, because the first captain had told her that was proper etiquette, that civilians always got it wrong. “It blocks the ghosts so I can do normal things like go to the bathroom and sleep. Everyone else in my family has killed themselves before the age of forty because the ghosts won’t leave us alone. I’m thirty-nine. My dream is to be an old woman. A very old woman.”

Then she fixed a steely gaze on him. He looked away first.

“And why is it wrong to get money for a skill no one else has?” she said. “I am the only person who can help.”

“I hope you can. We’ll be at the first space port, Eridana, in about two weeks.” He shifted his position, and the shadows in his eyes darkened. “There’s been trouble there. They think from ghosts.”

“They didn’t tell me much. Poltergeist activity?”

“No. It’s in the air. Like a weight, an oppressiveness, constantly pressing against you.”

She leaned forward, going still. Reminded herself to breathe. “Once we had a bus crash. Forty people killed. It was like that for me until the ghosts passed on.”

No one else had felt it but her, and other members of her family.

“We think it’s connected to the Corellians. Things were fine until they put out the Sin Pots. The Corellians say it’s for their ancestors.”

Hope shivered. Her Demory metal bracelet had originated on the Corellian world.

“Sin Pots?” she asked.

“Sorry.” He flushed. “It’s a military nickname. Computer, show us the Sin Pots.”

A three-dimensional hologram appeared above the table. Hope used her hand to pull it lower so she could see it better. The Sin Pot was a crudely made metal barrel that would probably come up to Hope’s waist. A second image from an overhead angle show a red liquid, thick like oil, inside.

She asked, “Do you know what the liquid is?”

Graul picked up the notebook and flipped through the pages, pausing on one. How old-fashioned to still be using paper.

“I can give you a list of the ingredients,” he said. “We don’t know what they do.”

“Are they specific to the Corellian home world?”

Graul added a quick note that looked like it had a question mark at the end. “Most of them are common elements you could get anywhere. Two are unique to the Corellians.”

“I don’t know of any liquid that would have anything to do with ghosts. Could be the Corellians developed it, though I can’t see why. Can’t you remove the Sin Pots?”

“No.” Graul bit his lip. Making up his mind. “It’s not that easy. The Corellians supply GALCOM with minerals we need for our space cruisers. When we tried removing the Sin Pots, they delayed deliveries until we put them back.”

She’d read about that in the news, though the delays had been passed off as caused by a space storm.

“You couldn’t negotiate with them?”

The shadows in his eyes grew darker still. He looked down at the book, not reading it. Closed the cover. “No.”

He set the notebook on the coffee table and straightened it. Laid the pen on top of it.

She waited, but he didn’t say anything further.

She said, “I told the GALCOM representative the same thing: All I can do is look. I don’t know if my ability to see ghosts would allow me to see Corellian ones, or if I would be able to talk them.”

Graul fell silent for a long moment. “We have to try. We can’t let it get worse.”


12 book covers in the military SF bundle

Yes!  I’m in a Story Bundle.  My book is Crying Planet.  If you purchase a bundle, you can get 12 books!  There are also gift cards available, so you can give it as a gift.

You can never have too many books.

The 2018 Military SF Bundle – Curated by Kevin J. Anderson

Strap in, adjust your uniform, fire up the engines, and get ready to defend the Earth against all threats, extraterrestrial and domestic! I’ve curated a new Military Science Fiction StoryBundle with a dozen great books from the high-tech battlefields right here on our home planet to the farthest reaches of the galaxy.

This StoryBundle contains two of my standalone military SF novellas, ESCAPE HATCH and PRISONER OF WAR, and COBRA SLAVE by Timothy Zahn, as well as OBLIVION by Steve White and Charles E. Gannon, part of the New York Times bestselling Starfire series. Baen Books provided the brand new, hot-off-the-presses YEAR’S BEST MILITARY AND ADVENTURE SF, edited by David Afsharirad, with excellent stories by David Weber, Jody Lynn Nye, Larry Niven, and more.

Three of these books are written by veterans of the armed services, who bring their own gritty experiences into writing, FIRE ANT by Jonathan Brazee, CRYING PLANET by Linda Maye Adams, and STRIKE EAGLE by Doug Beason.

Ron Friedman’s time travel thriller TYPHOON TIME, J.A. Sutherland’s INTO THE DARK, Steve Ruskin’s A DEAL WITH THE DEVIL’S BROKER, and Andrew and William Keith’s COHORT OF THE DAMNED round out the bundle.

As always with StoryBundle, you name your own price. Get the base level of four books for $5 or the entire dozen for as little as $15. You support independent authors and small presses, and a portion of the proceeds goes to benefit the remarkable work of the Challenger Learning Center for Space Science Education. The Military SF StoryBundle is available for only three weeks here: – Kevin J. Anderson

The initial titles in the The 2018 Military SF Bundle (minimum $5 to purchase) are:

  • Escape Hatch by Kevin J. Anderson
  • Strike Eagle by Doug Beason
  • The Year’s Best Military & Adventure SF Vol. 4 by David Afsharirad
  • Oblivion by Steve White and Charles E. Gannon

If you pay at least the bonus price of just $15, you get all four of the regular titles, plus EIGHT more!

  • Cohort of the Damned by Andrew Keith and William H. Keith, Jr.
  • Typhoon Time by Ron S. Friedman
  • Prisoner of War by Kevin J. Anderson
  • A Deal with the Devil’s Broker by Steve Ruskin
  • Into the Dark – Alexis Carew #1 by J.A. Sutherland
  • Crying Planet by Linda Maye Adams
  • Fire Ant by Jonathan P. Brazee
  • Cobra Slave – Cobra Rebellion Book 1 by Timothy Zahn

This bundle is available only for a limited time via It allows easy reading on computers, smartphones, and tablets as well as Kindle and other ereaders via file transfer, email, and other methods. You get multiple DRM-free formats (.epub and .mobi) for all books!

It’s also super easy to give the gift of reading with StoryBundle, thanks to our gift cards – which allow you to send someone a code that they can redeem for any future StoryBundle bundle – and timed delivery, which allows you to control exactly when your recipient will get the gift of StoryBundle.

Why StoryBundle? Here are just a few benefits StoryBundle provides.

  • Get quality reads: We’ve chosen works from excellent authors to bundle together in one convenient package.
  • Pay what you want (minimum $5): You decide how much these fantastic books are worth. If you can only spare a little, that’s fine! You’ll still get access to a batch of exceptional titles.
  • Support authors who support DRM-free books: StoryBundle is a platform for authors to get exposure for their works, both for the titles featured in the bundle and for the rest of their catalog. Supporting authors who let you read their books on any device you want—restriction free—will show everyone there’s nothing wrong with ditching DRM.
  • Give to worthy causes: Bundle buyers have a chance to donate a portion of their proceeds to The Challenger Center for Space Education!
  • Receive extra books: If you beat the bonus price, you’ll get the bonus books!

StoryBundle was created to give a platform for independent authors to showcase their work, and a source of quality titles for thirsty readers. StoryBundle works with authors to create bundles of ebooks that can be purchased by readers at their desired price. Before starting StoryBundle, Founder Jason Chen covered technology and software as an editor for and

For more information, visit our website at, tweet us at @storybundle and like us on Facebook.