EJECT! EJECT! EJECT!

Sometimes old videos make a person look at things in different ways:

 

 

While I haven’t gotten there yet, this video does make me think differently about jet combat in the Usurper’s War universe.  Without giving away spoilers, there will be a pseudo-Cold War in the aftermath of the in universe World War II.  Technology and how it works will play a key part in what characters live and die.

 

Music Monday-Sabaton Rides Again

Sorry I let this lapse—things got kind of hectic in editing To Slip The Surly Bonds.  Which, by the way, has completed editing, is with Chris Kennedy Publishing for layout, and is expected to drop on 13 September.

 

Cover Art

 

Which is why I picked today’s song.

“But wait, wasn’t Those In Peril the naval alternate history?”–Peanut Gallery.

In response, I will simply laugh in carrier and you’ll all find out why next month!  Enjoy the Sabaton!

 

 

 

Constant Scrutiny

So I forgot about this being mentioned in a panel while at Libertycon. Yes, as Cedar says, if you’re in a group that seems at all sketchy, get out most ricky tick. The ‘Zon has been really cracking down on trying to find people gaming their system. From all appearances they may be indeed using neutron bombs on snipers. This is also why your humble narrator doesn’t even joke about quid quo pro for reviews online. One can make their own decisions on whether that’s paranoid, but memory is a fickle thing.

Mad Genius Club

As I was chatting with a fellow author last night, the topic came up of Amazon and their predilection for pulling reviews they find suspicious, or suspending the accounts of authors they think may be gaming the system. It was something John van Stry had talked about on the trends in Indie Publishing panel he and I were on, along with Jim Curtis and Lawdog. (Great panel, I was listening more than talking, and we had almost two hours so we got into the meat of the matter).

The upshot of that conversation, and the more private one later, is that as authors we must avoid all appearance of evil.

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Shapes and Such

So while I’m busy editing To Slip the Surly Bonds‘ entries, here’s something else for your reading pleasure:

Shapes, Part I: The Shape of Airpower

Note that his opinions and experiences with naysaying the airframe reflect many of my own with regards to the F-35.  (Neither the author’s opinions nor mine reflect official DoD policy.  Nor do they mirror those of our respective services or the U.S. government.)

As I’ve mentioned before, very early on in the F-35’s development someone in the other services should’ve said, “Fine, let’s give the Marines’ their jump fighter (or seriously modify the AV-8), and everyone else who needs a power projection platform will take this in a different direction.”  For various reasons (to include the foolish belief that, after the Cold War, great power conflicts were a dead issue) this was not done–and now all the armed services have a fighter that is more F-105/F-111 than, say, F-16.  That’s…that’s not good, and I’m glad to see purchasing additional F-15 platforms is being vehemently discussed.  I’d prefer they were F-22s, but the Eagle‘s inherent growth abilities continue to provide dividends.

Big picture, it’s probably time to also consider augmenting our current heavy bomber fleet with something off the shelf.  How many cruise missiles can you fit into a Boeing 767?  I don’t know, but maybe that’s something Congress should direct the Air Force think about. 

 

One for the Protoculture Addicts…

Robotech Third Generation had a character called Lancer / Yellow Dancer.  The former was his [male] official name.  The second was his cross-dressing rock star alter ego.  Robotech was a strange time, but it did produce some good music like the in universe song “Look Up (The Sky Is Falling).”  The one below has been reproduced with a more hard rock sound (and the AMV is pretty cool too).

Loss of A Sensei

Sensei. n. A teacher or instructor usually of Japanese martial arts (such as karate or judo).

“No one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away…” ― Terry Pratchett, Reaper Man.

 

On Monday, I learned that one of my  doctoral committee members had passed away.  As one should do when a person’s made a big impact on your life, I’m going to throw my own rock into the proverbial River of Time to commemorate someone most of you never had the joy of meeting.

I first met Al Hamscher in Spring 2006.  Dr. Hamscher taught “Writing In History,” a class solely devoted to developing an article for professional publication.  I walked into his class having won awards, scholarships, and money in writing classes.  In short, I thought I knew what the hell I was doing writing-wise, and that this was basically going to be a pro forma easy A.

I’m not saying that this was Dr. Hamscher’s actual face…giphy

 

…but I am saying it was close enough.

I mean, I’ve been hazed.  I’ve been forced to box against the Corps of Cadets champion for the sheer amusement of my instructor.  (Okay, fine, not just sheer amusement…) Bent into a near pretzel shape only to be told “high zero.”

None of these things approached the sheer frustration I felt in the first few weeks of that course.  Dr. Hamscher warned us up front that he was acerbic.  I figured I knew what that word meant.  Born and raised in Philadelphia, the man made me understand how Santa Claus got booed at the Linc, why Rocky was dumb enough to fight Apollo Creed the second time, and why “The City of Brotherly Love” was the biggest false advertisement since the Serpent talked Eve into biting the Apple.  From a man who walked into that course supremely confident in my abilities, I was beginning to doubt my ability to string together coherent sentences.  I could see the same creeping “What the ___ have we done?” creeping into my classmates’ faces also as we each presented our drafts in round robin fashion.

Then a funny thing happened. About draft number 3, after getting good and strafed (he may have said “Tell me everything you know about the Golan Heights. Leave nothing out!” and apparently misheard my inquiry of “Uh, everything?”), it was like something clicked.  Really clicked.  As in, suddenly I had leveled up as an author and as a historian. The end result was “The Heights of Ineptitude,” my first professional article of any sort.

Both of my classmates also subsequently published their articles in professional journals, nor were we alone. At one point, Dr. Hamscher had an over 90% success rate with folks who took “Writing In History.”  I didn’t matter whether it was military, women’s, American, or some other historical discipline.  If a student was willing to have a thick skin and take direction, Dr. Hamscher was able to be a cross between Pai Mei and Obi-Wan Kenobi for historians taking their first steps into “publish or perish.”  Although I am fairly certain each of us getting published will never compare to the joy he felt when his beloved Eagles finally won the Super Bowl, Dr. Hamscher always made sure I knew how proud he was of me and what I’d accomplished.  Having taught thousands of undergraduate and graduate student, the ripples Al Hamscher created will continue to lap against various intellectual shores for decades.

“Philly Philly,” Dr. Hamscher.  I’m glad to have known you both as a mentor and a person, and thank you for making me a better writer.

Covering Alternate History

Where Sarah Hoyt discusses the difficulty of putting a cover on alternate history works.  Go on and take a gander…

Mad Genius Club

This one is difficult, because you have to convey three things: alternate time line, where it deviated from ours, and what in general the reader can expect from the book.  You know: funny, serious or adventure.

The easiest ones are the ones that are sf or Fantasy and obviously so.  For instance, my dragon-shifter-red-baron will eventually when finished and ready to go have a dragon with the paint to match Richthofen’s plane, flying over the trenches. Title and subtitle will help, and I’ll come up with something.

Alternate history that is “just” alternate history is more difficult, and you sometimes have to “represent things that aren’t in the book to represent something that is in the book.”

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