Silence Drips into Color


A woman soldier facing away from the camera holds a rifle.
The scariest thing in Desert Storm was when the gas alarm sounded and we evacuated to a foxhole. Did not know anything. Could not see anything.

Private First Class Anita Johnson’s greatest fear is dying,   After a gas alarm is called, she hides in a bunker, listening to the unknown and waiting for IT to happen.  Normalcy may be her only sanity.

A flash fiction story available from your favorite booksellers.

Adventures Around the Web July 2-8, 2017


I’m trying my hand with content curation this week in conjunction with writing in public.  Enjoy the stories!

Alessandra Codinha in Vogue Magazine

Women in the Military: The Female Soldiers on the Front Lines 

When I look for photos of women on the military websites, I can’t find much.  Those available are pretty limited, like an afterthought (I imagine someone in command is saying, “Oh, that’s right, we forgot to add a photo of a woman.”).  This article has stunning photos of military women, from all the different services.

Mary Elizabeth Pratt in We Are the Mighty

The 7 Everyday Struggles of Women in the Military

This was written recently, but even twenty-five years ago it was all true.  My most popular blog post of all time was on hair for women in the military.

K. Gitter on Do You Remember?

Julie Andrews Wiped Out While Filming the Sound of Music

I just saw the musical production of The Sound of Music at the Kennedy Center–my first live Rogers and Hammerstein production, so this caught my eye.  Behind the scenes filming of movies that we all like is fascinating.  This one talks about the hazards some of these actors went through.

Besides, it’s Julie Andrews.

Max Booth III in LitReactor

Exposure is Not Payment: Why You Should Start Respecting Yourself as a Writer

This link comes from Day Al-Mohamed, who used to belong to my writing group. A lot of magazines don’t pay writers, but instead promise to give the writer “exposure.” Unfortunately, this type of payment also means they don’t get good stories that will draw readers to read your story. Everyone else is going to try to take advantage of us.  We don’t need to jump in and help them.

Roz Marshall

DIY eBook Covers: Design Principles for Non-Designers (How to sell more books, 1)

This is an ebook, which I found this book via Angie’s Desk.   I know a lot about graphics, though I was never trained formally in it, so I almost passed it by.  But after I saw Angie’s description, I decided to buy it.  And I learned something new about building covers, which you would have seen (and probably not noticed) on the Granny Logic cover.

Rejected by Aliens


Cover for Rejected by Aliens

First contact missions with new alien races are always dangerous.

But Private Gaynelle never thought that the aliens would eat her officer, and she’d be the one in charge.

Now she has to figure out how to communicate with the aliens.  But why they rejected her as a meal will terrify her.

Available on Smashwords and Amazon for $1.99.

Navajo Women May Have Been the First Enlisted in the Military


A historian discovered the women’s names in the records for the late 1800s:

While compiling a lengthy list of Sandoval County veterans — from the Civil War through Vietnam — retired Army colonel and amateur historian David C’de Baca made an intriguing find: Two Navajo women who served as scouts with the Army’s 20th Infantry Regiment in the summer of 1886 could be the first women to have officially been enlisted in the U.S. Army.

The rest of it is in the Army Times.  I thought it was pretty cool that it wound up in this publication.  There are four sold on every military base–one for each service, so this is going out to the military.

Navy’s one size fits all on uniforms


When I was in the army, I never much liked the skirt part of the Class A uniform (which was green then).  The reason was pretty basic: If I wore the skirt, I had to wear those god-awful pumps.  My feet are very wide, and anything pointed = bad, bad idea.

Women have always had two parts to the uniform, a pants and low quarters shoes version, and a skirt and pumps version.  Now the Navy is now proposing to make all the uniforms for women look like the ones men wear, to make everyone look equal.  But instead:

“By trying to hide female sailors and Marines in formation by putting them in male uniforms, it suggests that leaders are ashamed of women. Servicemen and women can be equal without having to wear the exact same uniform that, when it comes down to it, was designed for men, not women.”

The bad part is that the upper levels of leadership can’t see this.  Speaks for how much the leadership still can’t relate to having women in the service.  This is why it’s so important that more women get into the upper ranks where these decisions are made.

What does a veteran look like?


I’ve seen a couple of these turn up over the last few days: A woman veteran uses one of the courtesy spots some merchants provide and gets a nasty note from anonymous person telling her she can’t park there because the parking spot is for veterans (read: men).

Once the soldier takes off the uniform, what exactly does that veteran look like?

They might be tall.  They might be short.

They might be thin.  They might be heavy.

They might wear a suit.  Or they might wear a skirt.

Not all veterans are men.

Noticing Women in the Military


I’m in Washington DC, so I see a lot of articles turn up in the newspapers about the military—this area probably has the most military in the country.  The articles might describe the VA problems, and go into many pages with interviews with veterans. Or it might describe the experiences of soldiers overseas, again with more interviews.

Women soldiers are rarely in these articles.

If women soldiers show up in an article, it’s about a specific woman’s issue—and usually a negative one, like sexual harassment, so the women is portrayed as a victim.

3 Myths about Women in Combat has this quote about military women:

While some have argued that America is not ready to lose women to war, the reality is we already have, with precious few Americans paying attention.

How can we pay attention when the media pretends like military women don’t exist?

Writing as a Woman Veteran


I have a post up over at Books By Women today on the above topic.  Please drop on by and check it out!

For those who are writers and women, the site also has a well-moderated private group for women writers.

Ahoy to the Navy in Japan


A Navy ship arriving in Japan gives us this picture of a military woman at work:

U.S. Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Abby Thomas heaves a mooring line as the guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald arrives at Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka in Yokosuka, Japan, Aug. 3, 2015.
U.S. Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Abby Thomas heaves a mooring line as the guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald arrives at Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka in Yokosuka, Japan, Aug. 3, 2015.

Photos of the ship she was on are here, including one of the ship in dry dock.

I worked in a Joint Service company.  We worked with all the services, and most were easy to get along with (except the Air Force).  But not everything translated across the services.  Everyone had their own “rice bowl,” and the Navy’s enlisted rank designations were nearly unintelligible to the Army folks.  It seemed to be one of those things where you had to be there in the Navy to understand it, though I suppose they thought the same thing about our rank!

Navy has the watch today


Back to the Navy again for another great photo (hear that Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps? Where are your women service members?!).

150812-N-UY393-367 SAN DIEGO (Aug. 12, 2015) Seaman Blythe Wallace, assigned to the amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6), executes a security simulation during Between the Lifelines (BTL) training aboard the barge. BTL is a two-week security training program that provides the fundamentals of watch standing and non-lethal weapons to Sailors. America is undergoing a post-shakedown availability (PSA) in which the ship's crew and assigned contractors make improvements to the ship's design. America's PSA will pave the way for future America-class amphibious assault ships. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class William Berksteiner/Released)
150812-N-UY393-367
SAN DIEGO (Aug. 12, 2015) Seaman Blythe Wallace, assigned to the amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6), executes a security simulation during Between the Lifelines (BTL) training aboard the barge. BTL is a two-week security training program that provides the fundamentals of watch standing and non-lethal weapons to Sailors. America is undergoing a post-shakedown availability (PSA) in which the ship’s crew and assigned contractors make improvements to the ship’s design. America’s PSA will pave the way for future America-class amphibious assault ships. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class William Berksteiner/Released)

I never used a handgun when I was in the service.  They were only for officers.  All the enlisted soldiers were issued an M16A1 rifle.  That thing was hard to carry around.  It was about three feet long, which made it super easy to get into everything.

I’d hang the strap (called a sling) over my shoulder, and then as I walked the strap would slide down to my elbow, so now I had this stilt like thing banging into my leg. Pull the strap back up, and then it was back down on my elbow again a few minutes later.