Devil Winds


Cover for Devil Lands showing a desert planet
This was inspired by a candle at a September 11 event.  I thought about how spies might communicate and got this story.

Abandoned by war, abandoned by death. Neyan is a soldier hanging on with only the goal of completing her mission: kill the enemy.

Now the enemy are mounting an attack on the kingdom, and she is the only one who stands between them and her people. Then she meets the enemy and she isn’t so sure of her mission any more.

A dark fantasy short story available from your favorite booksellers.

Adventures Around the Web Octber 21-26


This week, the colder temperatures marched in, and then bounced around.  Pretty typical for DC, but it’s hard when your sinuses are going, “I’m not happy”…

Lulu the dog flunked out of CIA bomb-sniffer school because she just didn’t care

Spy dog fails classes at CIA!  Lots of very cute dog pictures for Friday.  Labs have a gentleness about them that’s just fun to look at.  Link courtesy of Day Al-Mohamed.

Serialized television has become a disease

I’ve of mixed feelings about serialization.  Early on, I did think it gave shows a continuity they desperately needed.  On the show Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, it was like the writers hit a reset button each time they wrote a new episode.  If aliens invaded the ship, it was treated as if it was the first time, even when it wasn’t.  Characters come into our lives and become something more, just like in books.  But serialization does not allow episodes to stand out.  What if the serialization for the year is poor?

Adding Tags in OneNote

This one’s a software tool I’ve been using for my research library.  I was on Evernote, but I switched over over because I don’t need extra software to confuse things.  I already had OneNote as part of the 365 subscription–why pay for a second program?  I know Scrivener had notes for projects, but I always thought research notes should be available for reuse. That’s a little hard if it’s done by project.  I also heard someone say that OneNote doesn’t have tagging.  I don’t use it myself, but the link explains to to tag.  And a photo of my research library …

A screenshot of my index pages showing headers for Ocean Liners and links underneath.

 

 

More Adventures at the Book Sale


This week’s book sale was the big one at the library.  They have one in October and another in April.

The sale itself is located on a floor in the garage.  It’s a permanent fixture in the garage, but closed off behind a gate except when there’s a sale.  The sale was advertised as having 75,000 books!

The books:

  1. Close to Shore: A True Story of Terror in an Age of Innocence (it’s about shark attacks)
  2. Drilling Through Time: 75 Years with California’s Division of Oil and Gas
  3. Espionage: The Greatest Spy Operations of the 20th Century
  4. The Island of the Colorblind (about a place where everyone is colorblind)
  5. The Man Behind the Magic: The Story of Walt Disney
  6. Law and Order: The Unofficial Companion
  7. Looking for a Ship: U.S. Merchant Marine
  8. My Secret Life as a CIA assassin
  9. The Raging Sea: The Powerful Account of the Worst Tsunami in U.S. History
  10. Plot
  11. Shirley Jones: A Memoir
  12. Star Trek Memories
  13. Star Trek Movie Memories

I had to be creative about where to look for these books.  Military was where I found the spy books, though I don’t think they have anything to do with military.  I found the California one in the science section.  Plot showed up in the Performing Arts.

The one that caught my attention the most was the Law and Order book.  It’s just got the first 10 seasons of the show.  But in scanning through it, the book made me realize why I like the show. It’s a lot like Star Trek, and also The Orville  It presents stories that don’t always have easy answers, and often have a lot of differing opinions.  It’s entertaining and makes you think a little.

Adventures at the book sale


I went to my second book sale of the month this weekend.  This was a fluke that I discovered this one…it wasn’t at a library.

It was at the State Department!

Yes, that State Department.

I actually didn’t expect to find much. As a result of my research class, I’m looking for used books to build my research library.  My topics are:

  • Hollywood (40s and 50s)
  • the sea
  • ghosts
  • military
  • Science Fiction

Given that the books were donated by state department employees, I expected a lot of politics.  But who knows?

So hoofed it down on Metro with a backpack to carry my books.  Little did I realize how much of a challenge my trek was going to be.  The site said the sale was near the Foggy Bottom metro stop.

Yeah, wellllll…

I had show my ID to get into the building and passed by at least six police officers to get to the sale inside.  It was a pretty building for a government building, and there were historic pictures of diplomats up on the walls. Also a very cool statue outside of a man with a globe.

The sale was in a large room with an extension of a tent off the room.  Just tables with the books on top of it.  I had to look pretty carefully in different categories to find books.  Three was a section for the Hollywood type books, but I find all of the ones I bought in other areas.

I accumulated a small stack of about six of the books and one of the volunteers came over to put the books into a book check for me.  After a few minutes, the book check lady came over and asked me where I had found the spy books (2&3).  She thought they were great titles.

I accumulated more books, and by now I was hoping I could actually get them back to the Foggy Bottom Metro.  I ended up with two bags of books (we do not discuss how much I paid; I wished I’d checked the price on one book.  I would have passed on it as too much!).

Book check person commented that I had a lot of books.

Check out person commented that I had a lot of books.

Bag check person commented that I had a lot of books.  I did ask her if everyone was just buying only a few.  I’ve seen people at the county library sale get boxes of books.  She said I was the biggest buyer of the day.

I packed most of the books in my backpack and carried the partially full second back.

Guard #1-5 commented that I had a lot of books.

It was a baker’s dozen:

  1. The Final Dive: The Life and Death of Buster Crabb
  2. The Encyclopedia of World War II Spies
  3. The Catcher was a Spy: The Mysterious Life of Moe Berg
  4. The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea
  5. Rock Hudson: His Story
  6. Black Holes: A Traveler’s Guide
  7. The Ice Master: The Doomed 1913 Voyage of the Karluk
  8. Comet
  9. The Edge of the Sea
  10. In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whale Ship Essex (this was the higher priced book)
  11. You Must Remember this: Life and Style in Hollywood’s Golden Age
  12. The Untold Story of Getting from Here to There: Time and Navigation
  13. Exploring the Deep Blue Frontier

Uphill back to Foggy Bottom Metro.  Just in time to catch a train!  Yay!  I think I had my exercise for the day.  Now to figure out what to do with my books…

And then there’s another library sale locally next week.

 

 

Adventures Around the Web September 2-8, 2017


David Ignatius on the Washington Post

A diminutive woman — and a spy who defined courage

Sometimes people define bravery as someone an extra qualification a person has.  But it’s more like something you have to do because it’s right. Jeannie Rousseau de Clarens’ story about spying during World War II rings like soldiers who receive medals for bravery: She was only a small part of what everyone else was doing.  From Piper Bayard.

Greer Mcallister on Writer Unboxed

Should you Ever Write For Free?

I’ve had writers disagree with me on this (and I know at one point where I disagreed with the writers giving the same advice to me).  Writing for non-paying subconsciously tells you that you’re not good enough to compete with the pros, and it’s very easy to stay at that level.  Though I am one of the few women veterans who writes about war experiences, I’ve stopped submitting to those anthology calls.  None of them pay!  They want to help vets, but they don’t want to pay vets for their writing.  Think about that.

Phil Mawson on BBC News

The Men Who Drew The Mason-Dixon Line

When I drove from Washington State to Washington DC, I crossed over the the Mason-Dixon Line.  I’d heard the name, but didn’t know a lot of history about it.  The article has a map showing the lines, as well some cool bits about the science side.  It’s actually not accurate because of gravity!  From Piper Bayard.

Ashley Feinberg on IO9

Any Animal That Touches This Lethal Lake Turns to Stone

No, this isn’t a made up story.  It’s a real place.  Kind of creepy.  Hmm.  Might make a story.

Tim Kirkpatrick on We Are The Mighty

This is why the Navy wears bell bottoms, and it’s not for fashion

Everything on a military uniform has a purpose.

 

Adventures Around the Web August 19-25, 2017


The Passive Voice

A Check Girl

This is a quote from a Raymond Chandler story.   Wow.  Just wow.

Susan Elia MacNeal on Signature

These Six Incredible Women Served as Undercover Spies During World War II

When I was in school, history that was taught wasn’t particularly interesting.  It was dates and events, not about the people.  Finding things like this on the internet gives history a very different perspective that’s often lost.  And well…spies.  Shared from Gail Reid in the Desert Storm Combat Women Facebook group.

Bored Panda

10+ of the Best Shorts of the 2017 Solar Eclipse

Number two is awesome!

Fossil Guy

Mallows Bay Ghost Fleet Along the Potomac River, Maryland

This is a ship graveyard in Maryland.  I would check it out, but it’s only accessible via the water.  But the story about it is pretty cool.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Business Musings: Eclipse Expectations

Kris was was in the starting place for the eclipse, so it’s got a lot of good details.  But it also talks about how hyped it was and people planned for big business in the totality areas–and didn’t get enough business.  Which slides right into what publishers do with books, like assuming everyone will buy a book because it’s like another book.  Very interesting post on marketing.

 

Spies Shaken and Not Stirred


This year we’re celebrating 50 years of James Bond.  My own first memories of James Bond were from the film Live and Let Die, and the James Bond I know was Roger Moore.  The image we have of spies is the debonair James Bond coming out in his tuxedo and drinking a martini shaken and not stirred.  Beautiful and sometimes deadly women are at his beck and call.   But now there’s another image — the woman spy.

In  case you haven’t seen it, USA Network has been airing Covert Affairs, which a TV series about woman spy named Annie (played by Piper Perabo) who works for the CIA.  Spookdom!  The stories always have a lot of suspense and danger, but are characterized by Annie using her wits and knowledge to get out of trouble.  Her action scenes are great, because they feel like a woman is doing them.  They play to a woman’s strengths and weaknesses, so we don’t see Annie doing fight techniques that would only be possible with a stuntwoman.  Like it or not, men are stronger and bigger, so that means Annie has to rely on other skills than technique.  It makes for exciting action scenes because you know if she makes a mistake, she’s going to be in trouble.

I’ll admit though that my favorite character is Augie, the blind spy.  I think every time I’ve seen a blind character on TV it’s been a woman hiding behind huge dark glasses (presumably so the actor can navigate without giving away that she isn’t blind).  She’s often a witness to a crime, and the killer is coming after her — so she’s often portrayed as a victim.  Augie is far from that and has even had a few fight scenes of his own.  But the actor, Christopher Gorham, makes him really come to life.  Gorham discusses on Huffington Post his research to play the character.

But I think the best thing about the show is that the stories aren’t just about the action and spying, but they’re about the people.  Action is just action, but people and who they are make it exciting.  More episodes for the third season will show up October 16.

Who’s your favorite character?

And since it is a TV show, a video for your viewing pleasure.  This was my first impression of the show.

Linda Adams, Soldier, Storyteller

Starting November 4, I will doing a month-long session on Forward Motion on “Basic Training of Military Culture.”  The lesson plan for the course is posted here.

My article Balancing Writing and Blogging is out on Vision: A Resource for Writers.