Friday, December 23, 2011

“First Kiss” The Homecoming kiss seen round the world.

And boy am I not kidding. When the USS Oak Hill was made fast to the dock in Little Creek Virginia recently, no one on the pier knew what was going to happen.

On board the Oak Hill Fire Control Technician Second Class Marissa Gaeta had won the coveted “First Kiss” raffle held onboard the ship. It’s a drawing that allows the winner to be the first sailor off the ship to greet their loved one waiting “on the beach”, i.e. the pier.

Given any other time, this ritual wouldn’t have garnered a passing glance from anyone other than the wives, husbands, boy and girlfriends waiting for their loved ones still on the ship. However, in the one particular case, the person waiting on the beach for Marissa Gaeta was another woman.

The local press was there to record the kiss, proof positive that the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Pursue” policy is finally, once and for all, and hopefully for all time, relegated to is proper place, the trash can.

Local station WVEC in Norfolk, Va. recorded the moment and it’s been seen by viewers of CNN, BBC and other planet-spanning news agencies.

As one commenter of the video said, “Two sailors kissed, nothing exploded, no ships sank, no one fainted, the world didn’t end.”

What I say is “Move along people, nothing to see here other than two people in love with each other.”

 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Troops Leaving Iraq

I’m sitting in the Tora Bora restaurant here on the ISAF compound in Kabul and am watching the BBC and CNN news coverage of the US military’s pull out from Iraq. It’s silent coverage since the sound is off.

But it gets me to thinking, it’s going to take a while, months for the men and women to get back to the bases they deployed from; Italy, Germany, England, The United States. There will be the normal unit celebrations when the deployed elements arrive back at their units, the administrative process of getting the returnees re-integrated.

But what then?

These men and women are coming out of a combat situation, high stress, high tempo, life and death situations where they have seen buddies killed or wounded. They themselves may have been wounded physically, or mentally.

How are we.. WE going to support them? Are we going to shake their hands and say “Thank you for your service to our country”? Or are we going to throw rocks and bottles, while yelling vile things at them? Or are we going to ignore them, sentence them to the limbo of benign neglect, “if we ignore them they will go away and we won’t have to deal with their problems”.

Veterans from World War two came home to parades. Vets that fought in Korea just came home. When Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines came home from Vietnam, it was to demonstrations, shouts of “rapist; murderer and baby killer”. I know first hand about the open hostility of civilians against the military, my father served in the U.S. Marine Corps as part of an aviation fighter squadron stationed on board the USS Oriskany. It didn’t matter if the service member slogged through the jungles and rice paddies, or sat off the coast on an aircraft carrier, or was part of a field medical unit. Everyone that wore a uniform was treated with equally vile contempt.

We’ve heard the chants of certain factions of our population, “NO BLOOD FOR OIL”, “HALIBURTON’S WAR”, “BUSH LIED, PEOPLE DIED”, among others. If they have a grievance with the WHY of sending servicemen and women into a war, I have no problem with that. You want to scream and yell about the justifications used, by all means take it up with THE GOVERNMENT, not the individual soldier or his/her family.

There is no conscription of service in the United States. Every man and woman who wears the uniform chose, on their own, to hand over a check to their respective military service for an amount up to and including their life. They agreed when they put up their hand and recited the Oath that they would support and defend the Constitution and to obey the officers appointed over them.

So, it comes back to the question, how are we going to support our returning troops?

I know how I’m going to support them.

How are YOU going to support our returning troops?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

So, you want to be an artist, eh?

 

Isn’t it a dream of most people to be able to draw, paint or sculpt like one of the Masters? For me, drawing or painting, sure. sculpting is just way too much work. Besides, the majority of my drawing would be for my own use anyway. I need something I can refer to for my characters.

Yes, yes, I know they are my characters, and they should look the way I want them too. Which is right, but at some point in time their looks have to be set so you’re not describing them one way at the start of the book and something else later on.

I mean you really don’t want your main character being described as a five foot tall “Suzie Homemaker” type  in chapter one, then have her being a six foot five red haired Amazon warrior princess in chapter ten. Not unless something really drastic happened.

And that’s what this post is about, how do you get your character reference drawing when the most artistic picture you’ve ever drawn looked like a stick figure done with a great big cranberry Crayola crayon.

For me, it was finding a 3D graphics program called, appropriately, DAZ 3D.

With the program, I can build a character, change the shape, skin tone, size, just about everything about them, clothe them, pose them and build a scene around them. Then once I have everything done up just right, I can render the scene as a whole and save the resultant picture .

FOB-OE-Airfield Sign

Or, I can just work with the character, to help me visualize the emotions or some other aspect I’m trying to get across in a particular scene.

Landing-close-up

This may not work for everyone, but it works for me.

Take care everyone.

 

Starfox Howl.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Fast Five Questions from Angela Drake

 

 

I was honored to be asked by author Angela Drake to participate in her FAST FIVE QUESTIONS blog.  It was posted this Friday, Veteran’s Day.

Here is the link. I hope you enjoy reading about it as much as I enjoyed being had by her.

The Writers Studio - Fast Five With Starfox Howl

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Interview with Jessica Ryerson – David Roentgen

 

David Roentgen: This morning Jessica Ryerson is in the studio with us.

Just a little background on Ms. Ryerson before we begin; she is the lead character in the debut book, Jason to Jessica, by Starfox Howl. You’re Canadian, isn’t that right Ms. Ryerson?

Jessica: Please call me Jessica and yes, I was born Canadian. Since coming here I’ve taking the tests and am a naturalized citizen of the United States. Mom was a natural citizen of the United States before she met Dad and didn’t give up her US citizenship when they got married. After my father was killed in action, we couldn’t stay on at the Service base any longer, so we moved south, to Georgia.

David: How have you acclimated to your new country?

Jessica: It’s been great, David. The weather is much nicer down here. I never liked the cold or the snow. I know, sacrilege. The schools here are great. I’m currently enrolled in Emory’s Business school and my sister, Crystal, is looking to attend the University of Georgia in Athens once she graduates from high school.

David: Now, I would like to get this part correct, and I hope I don’t confuse any of our listeners here today. You were born male, is that correct?

Jessica: Yes, I was born Jason Ryerson, and was about as male as you could get.

David: And now you are female, is that right?

Jessica: I present myself as female, I dress and act female, but medically I fall into the category of intersexed. And I have a feeling of what your next question will be. No, I didn’t go to Sweden and have gender reassignment surgery. My gender change started with a car accident. I was seriously injured, as in ‘pray for a miracle that he survives’ type serious. MORFS was that miracle. The syndrome was triggered and it repaired my injuries.

Jason was air lifted to the hospital and Jessica woke up at home, completely recovered.

David: I can only imagine that the change has been a complete shock to you, your family and friends.

Jessica: A shock yes, but my generation have been living with the possibility of having this syndrome triggered. Medical science has advanced so that the original high death toll has been reduced to the point that MORFS is treated almost like a severe cold. It’s the aftermath now that is of most concern to parents and survivors.

My family has supported me without hesitation since my change. A lot of Jason’s friends couldn’t cope with his change and so we’ve gone our separate ways.

David: Now, about this book, Jason to Jessica, tell me about it.

Jessica: It’s a very good book, I think. It begins when I wake up at home and chronicles the trials and tribulations of a man suddenly having to face the world as a woman. Jason has to come to grips with not only being a woman, but being a beautiful woman in a world where brains and beauty are considered mutually exclusive.

David: And your co-star, what can you tell me about him.

Jessica: Mike Forrester, of the Forrester Industries Forresters, tall, handsome, yummy. He was best friends with Jason while they were in college together. He was also one of the friends that didn’t run away when Jessica came on the scene.

David: Are you two romantic in the book?

Jessica: David! I can’t give away the whole plot. Your listeners are just going to have to buy the book and find out. But I will tell you that David is involved with a lot of firsts with Jessica.

David: Sounds like a very interesting story. Will there be a follow up?

Jessica: It’s in the works now. There so much more story to tell.

David: Why don’t you tell us the title of the book again and where our listeners can purchase it.

Jessica: The book is called, Jason to Jessica, by Starfox Howl. And you can purchase it from the publisher’s website: www.eXtasy.com, Amazon.com, Fictionwise.com and other e-book stores online.

JASONTOJESSICA

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Report from MCM Forward–ISAF Division

Today Marines all over the planet are participating in a tradition that is almost as sacred as the Marine Corps Birthday Ball. That tradition is the Marine Corps Marathon.  Here at Headquarters International Security Assistance Forces, Kabul, Afghanistan the tradition is carried forward with pride.

Twenty two runners from the different nations and services here at ISAF registered for the twenty six plus mile run inside the compound. Marine Corps four star General John Allen, Commander ISAF addressed the runners just prior to the playing of the US National Anthem and posing for group photos.

DSC_0278

As noted by General Allen, the thirty five year old Marine Corps Marathon is the fifth largest marathon in the United States and the ninth largest race in the world. The MCM is THE largest marathon that awards no cash prizes. That little factoid didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the racers waiting for the starting whistle.

Several participants were running for charity, one being the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors. The man ran in memory of Major Doug Zembiec, USMC who was killed 11 May 2007 while leading a raid in Baghdad, Iraq.

DSC_0270

 

The first MCM Forward was held in 2006 at Al Asad Airbase which hosted 109 finishers. MCM Forward is the name given to any Marine Corp Marathon event held outside of the United States.

Annually the MCM registers 30,000 participants.

While the participants here at ISAF will make up just a small fraction of the overall number of runners in this year’s MCM, these twenty two racers run for the same feeling of accomplishment and pride of service and country that motivate all the others.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The return of the Spammers

Several of the email groups I read have recently been hit with bouts of spam. No, not the kind that comes in a can that you buy in the grocery; the type that arrives in your email inbox and can carry all sorts of nastiness with it.

What was unsettling about these recent bouts were that they all came from members of the list. A number of the lists members were concerned that their ISP accounts had been hacked. While that is always a possibility, especially with hack groups targeting the larger application as a service providers, Google, Yahoo, Hotmail and others, it was more likely that the user’s email address was hijacked, rather than the account itself being broken into.

Spammers love valid e-mail addresses. One way that they gather valid email addresses is sit in groups like the ones I receive and harvest valid addresses. The larger the groups, the more addresses they get. They also launch spiders onto the web to read web pages and gather the contact addresses of webmasters and the like. It’s a big reason why you see more and more sites using fill in the blank web forms to contact the owners/support staff rather than just a simple email address.

Once a spammer gets your address, they use a simple mailing program to launch mail out into the internet. Electronic mail is not secure, so there is no checking to ensure that the address the spammer is using actually belongs to him or her. As long as it’s a valid format it flies down the wires just like normal mail into the recipient’s mailbox.

The spammer is hoping that if the recipient sees an address they are familiar with, they are more likely to open the message, click on the link or open the attachment. Sometimes that will get you an advertisement to make a body part larger, or for cheap drugs from Canada or Mexico. A lot of times now that link or attachment will compromise your computer, connecting you to a botnet or worst.

Protection isn’t that hard, but you do have to be vigilant. If you don’t have an anti-virus product on your computers, get one. Scan your machine on a regular basis, once a week at least. Good AV programs have a scheduler for this that will kick off a scan during your down hours. Your Internet Service Provider may have excellent software from brand name providers available as part of your subscription to their service. Check out the ISP’s website for more information.

Look at the email you’re receiving. If it looks suspicious, hit the delete key. If sweet Auntie May is sending you a link for a drug that supposed to make body parts that neither of you have, BIGGER STRONGER AND LAST LONGER hit the delete key.  If hubbie/boyfriend/guy next door is sending you an attachment that promises “hunky guys and beautiful beach babes for your wallpaper” Do Not Touch the attachment. Hit the delete key.

The bottom line on all of this is, get protected, use the protection and if it’s unexpected, be suspicious.

Practice safe hex, it’s a dangerous world online.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Angel’s Wings and other things

The cover art has arrived!  Angel’s Wings, another story in the MORFS story-verse, now has a cover. Hugs and Thanks to the artist.

Girl in black catsuit against the dark background.

There is no release date yet, as the story is still in the editing process, but as soon as I get more information I will pass it along.

Now, on to other things.

I’m sure you’ve noticed new stories showing up on my STORIESONLINE.NET  page. Yep, I’m posting new stories there, letting you, the reading public, have a chance at an advance peek at what’s going on in my head and coming out my fingers.

You may also notice chapters of JASON TO JESSICA being posted there. Again, also correct. However, you get only the first two chapters. If you want to see more you’ll have to purchase the book. Now now, no screaming and yelling. Jay, the EIC at Extasy Books would have me locked into stocks and flayed if I started giving away the store.

You can find JASON TO JESSICA at Amazon.Com, Fictionwise.com and at the publishers webiste WWW.Extasybooks.com. Not only should you get a copy of JASON TO JESSICA, check out the other author’s there as well. Comments and reviews on those sites and others, are always welcomed.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

It’s not IF it’s WHEN things go <FOOF!>

 

It seems that my recent posts about backing up data came in handy. I’ve been somewhat distracted posting here and to the email loops I copy.

The reason is simple. My computer ate something that got past the firewall and the virus scanner. Howling-PC went from a humming right on along machine to crawling like a dog with two legs and bad knees. After two days of troubleshooting, unloading background services, removing recently loaded commercial packages, I said FOOIE! and nuked the main system drive.

I spent one whole day off getting the hard drive cleaned (7 pass wiped) and the operating system reloaded. The seven pass wipe was to ensure that ANYTHING and EVERYTHING on the hard drive was gone.

Once my computer was put back together it was time to copy back the content data, that is, my story files, pictures, video files, in other words everything that I use on a mostly daily basis. This was rather easy for me, I have a second hard drive and I had just made a brand new backup of all my data to this second local drive prior to my nuking the system drive.

But I also had the data copied to an external hard drive and all my story files and a few other things were located on DROPBOX, an ‘in the cloud’ file storage service. In backing up your data against disaster, more is always better. So, if one data set was bad, I had a second and even third method of recovering my critical data.

In the end, all the data is back in place and I’m back up and running with a fully operational computer.

And able to do blog posts, like this one.

 

And now for my shameless plug! (Hey, it’s my blog!)

 

Jason to Jessica is now available on FICTIONWISE, as well as AMAZON and the EXTASYBOOKS.COM website.

 

LINKS:

AMAZON.COM  Purchase here for your Kindle

FICTIONWISE.COM Purchase here in various formats.

ExtasyBooks.Com, home of Extasy Publishing: Purchase here in various formats for most e-readers

 

BLURB:

Jason Ryerson wakes from sleep in a different room and a different body. In the hour after waking up, he learns that he has been a victim twice over, first of a car accident that caused massive injuries to his old body. Secondly, and more devastatingly a victim of the MORFS plague. Jason, now Jessica, learns what it means to be on the other side of the bed. Outwardly a beautiful woman, she is forced to come to terms with how the world views women. As ties to her past are confronted, dissolved or strengthened, Jessica turns her attention to her future. A man who knew her as both Jason and now Jessica becomes more than just a friend. With no secrets between them, will he help her find her way into the world of being a woman?

 

Excerpt:

 

I left the registrar’s office feeling at loose ends. Normally on a weekday, I would have a class or three to go to, but now, I had nowhere I had to be. It felt odd not having to be somewhere. But being a girl, and having nowhere to be, I did the natural thing, I decided to go shopping—it has to be a genetic thing—I knew of a commercial gym near the campus so I walked in that direction. On the way, there I came upon a fitness store that sold gym bags, clothing, and the like. I didn’t have anything with me that I could wear in a gym so I ducked in there to pick up the necessities. A half hour later, I was signing the paperwork for a ten-day trial membership to the club.

The locker room was surprisingly clean and mercifully empty. I changed into the heavy-duty sports bra and shorts and then made my way out to the gym floor. As I did my warm-up stretches, I scanned the main floor to see what equipment was available. There were a number of men walking around whose equipment made them seem interesting, but it didn't take long for me to change my mind. I had no interest strutting peacocks that were focused more on picking up women than picking up weights.

The inclined board seemed to be as good as any place to begin. Starting with the board at mid position, I worked through a set of slow crunches. I reset the board to the next higher level and worked through another set. From that station, I moved around to the others, building up a sweat as I went.

One station was the butterfly machine. After wiping the seat and grips, in case the previous user hadn’t, I reset the weight higher, a lot higher. Sitting down and hooking my arms into the wings of the machine, I could see the sweat glistening on my skin and staining the front of my bra. Inwardly, I smiled at the noticeable bumps showing through and wondered idly if other people found them sexy. Closing my eyes, I concentrated on the exercise, keeping my back pressed into the padding of the seat and bringing my arms around so they touched each other. Relaxing, I let the machine draw my arms apart and then repeated the movement.

With my eyes closed, it was easy to feel the strain on my shoulder muscles and across my chest. The reps were slow to keep the muscles under tension longer, to be more effective. Everything felt so different from before where sensations that were just there before now were different, sensual, almost sexual.

I sat in the machine’s seat staring at my reflection. My top was completely dark from sweat now and the bumps that outlined my nipples were even more pronounced. The endorphin haze felt so wonderful, I didn’t get up immediately. One of the staff noticed and stopped to ask if everything was okay. My eyes flicked from her breasts to face and I just nodded. She returned the smile, brushed her hand over my shoulder, and walked off. Very base thoughts crossed my mind as I watched her in the mirror as she bent over to help another patron at a different machine.

Stop thinking with the little head, Jessica, I told myself. Not that it did any good. Visions of the two of us naked and the busty staffer bent over a weight bench danced in my head.

I continued around to the other stations—military press, preacher curls, bench press, among others. My last stop was the high bar station. As Jason, I might have been able to do five pull-­ups on a good day. Hopping up, I grabbed the bar and crossed my ankles. Counting quietly, I did a set of twenty-five chin ups, then without touching the ground, shifted my hands and did another set of twenty-five pull-ups.

When I dropped to the ground, the staffer I had seen earlier was standing nearby watching and smiling.

I returned her smile and nodded before the woman moved on to help someone else once again. I pumped my arms slowly and watched the reflection in the mirror. Quietly I again thanked whatever deity might have been listening for putting me through MORFS.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Reviews… ah well, The Review is in!

I received the following review from Jude Mason after purchasing JASON TO JESSICA at Extasy Books.

Here’s Jude:
In Jason to Jessica, Starfox Howl takes us into the realm of the unbelievable, but the much fantasized world of what would happen if. If you went to sleep one night and woke up the next morning with the body of the opposite sex, what would you do? How would you handle being a woman when you’d been raised a man?
We get to look into that world and see what Jason Ryerson would do, or does, when he becomes Jessica. This new ‘being’ explores the world from the opposite side of the bed. She learns how woman cope with men, and what makes each sex tick. The sensations are different. Everything in her world is topsy-turvy, or is it?
Given no choice but to handle life as a beautiful woman, Jessica confronts her old life head on. I found the book both touching and an eye opener, Jessica’s struggle to understand her new life made me smile with joy as well as take a look at what makes us male or female. Can she find love? Can a woman who was a man, literally, find someone who will accept her for who and what she is now and once was? I found this a thoughtful and thought provoking book dealing with a fantasy I would imagine many of us have. I look forward to reading more of Starfox Howl’s work in the future.
 
Buy Link for Extasy Books
Buy Link for Amazon Books Kindle Edition

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Amazon Author Page and other News

Well, I guess I’m moving up in the world <does anyone hear the theme song of a old television show playing in the background?>. I’m working on my Author’s Page on Amazon. It even has a picture of me <and they haven’t crashed, must be the robust engineering>.

Yes, it shows my ONE book, but hey, even Tom Clancy started off with ONE book. Clancy may have had Jack Ryan’s career all planned out <from the CIA to the Presidency, that’s ambitious, even for Washington> but he started off with ONE book and even then that ONE book had to go to a very unlikely publisher, the U.S. Naval Academy Press.

On to the News portion… I got my first rejection. My first foray into the world of real MFM romance got shot down. It’s a small, 16K word story. The editor sent me back a nice note telling me that it was slow getting started and that one of the male lead characters wasn’t very nice.

A reader from one of the author groups I copy via e-mail read the draft and commented that she wanted to gut Jake with a hoof knife. I don’t blame her. Late in the story Lisa, the female lead threatens to geld Jake with a dull, rusty spoon if he hurts one of the people Lisa has to put to sea with.

In the end Jake does redeem himself and the trio has a Happy For Now ending.

Not daunted by the rejection. That just means that I need to do more work on the story and find a publisher that wants that type of story.

My other bit of news is that Angel’s Wings has been accepted by Extasy Books. It’s the second story in the MORFS story-verse. It’s out for editing and we will see how it goes.

Not much more writer’s news from out here in the Middle of Nowhere. Take care all.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Story Submissions

I’ve submitted two more stories for publication.

One story has already been accepted for publication by Extasy Books.

Angel’s Wings is a young adult story set in the MORFS story-verse. It follows a young MORFS survivor through her second change and meeting of her first love.  That’s all I’m going to say about that. What, you want me to give away the whole thing here?

 

As for the other, I did say I had submitted TWO stories… as for the other story, The Mankiller Chronicles – Deployment, it’s been submitted, but have not yet heard back on that. Yet.

Lisa Mankiller is a Navy Corpsman on leave prior to deployment with a Marine Amphibious Unit. At a neighbor’s ranch in Montana, she runs into a childhood friend and his very hunky boyfriend.

This is a short story where a “Navy Shower” is much different that what’s described in the Blue Jackets Manual.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Account Security for the Author (and the rest of us too)

In a previous blog, I put up an overview on how a person might be able to back up their data to keep it from going because when it did (either through accident [opps!] or mechanical/electronic failure [pretty wisps of blue and grey smoke rising from the back of your machine or a very sickening sound of your hard disk drive cannibalizing itself] you would have a way of recovering your data.
 
In this post, I’m going to give you pointers on how to create a secure password so that your online world will be more secure.
 
Most of us should have know that there have been major hacks of several online service providers (not ISP’s but places that do secure business online) and that user accounts have been compromised. Also, there are the perennial favorite sites to attempt to hack (Gmail, Yahoo, AOL and others).
 
You would be surprised at how many accounts are secured by no password, or very weak passwords. Some users never change the default password unless they are forced to. (I know, as a systems administrator for one government network, I had to twist my customer’s arms to get passwords enabled on the users network accounts!)
 
Passwords are the secret key that allows you access to your computer, your online account or to your bank’s ATM. Your password needs to be long, complex and not easy to guess.
 
ATM’s are a bit more secure because you have to have two things in order to access your account. Those two things are your ATM card (something you have) and your PIN (something you know). This is called two factor authentication. You have something, your bank card, and you know something, the PIN.
 
Most of our online world though, only uses a single factor for authenticating that you are you. Your password (something you know). If your password is easy to guess then it’s pretty much useless to keep your account secure.
 
A password should be at least 8 characters long and should be complex, a mixture of UPPER case and lower case letters, numbers and symbols/special characters.
 
A password should not be, a dictionary word, a birthdate, a name spelled backwards or the name of a child or relative. It needs to be complex. A complex password could be generated by using the first letter of the words in a phrase; such as:
 
Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet.
 
Some of you might recognize that as the tag line for a car company’s advertising program from the last century. But using the suggestion of using the first letter of each word, we can build a very good password:
 
BbHdA3.1415C
 
I’ve used all the elements of making a strong password
 
1. It’s greater than 8 characters (12)
 
2. It uses a mixture of upper case (B H A C) and lower case (b d) numbers 3 1 4 1 5 and special characters (.)
 
3. It’s not a dictionary word, a birthdate, a name spelled backwards or the name of a child or relative. These items are easy enough to look up on the Internet, or with the speed and power of current CPU’s, a brute force dictionary attack (where a computer sends strings of dictionary words against a system trying to force the proper password) is becoming easier to mount against an online computer system
 
One thing I did forget to mention is that you need to change your passwords regularly, every 4 to 6 months. Having only one password for all of your accounts means if one of your accounts is compromised, then all of them are vulnerable. Use different passwords on different accounts.
 
Please practice safe Hex as it is a dangerous world online.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Jason to Jessica is to be released!

 

JASONTOJESSICA

Who would have thunk it? I mean really who’d have ever thunk that I would have a book for sale? Not I, never.

But, here it is. And don’t you think that cover is GREAT?! I do. Hey it’s my first, I’m allowed to crow a bit, okay, a LOT!

The buy link should go live on the 15th. Right now, it goes to the “Coming Soon” entry for the story.

Buy Link: Jason to Jessica - eXtasy Books

Blurb:

Jason Ryerson wakes from sleep in a different room and a different body. In the hour after waking up, he learns that he has been a victim twice over, first of a car accident that cause massive injuries to his old body. Secondly, and more devastatingly a victim of the MORFS plague.

Jason, now Jessica, learns what it means to be on the other side of the bed. Outwardly a beautiful woman, she is forced to come to terms with how the world views women. As ties to her past are confronted, dissolved or strengthened, Jessica turns her attention to her future. A man who knew her as both Jason and now Jessica becomes more than just a friend. With no secrets between them, will he help her find her way into the world of being a woman?

 

Now, doesn’t that sound like a story you’d want to read?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Free Reads on StoriesOnline.Net

 

As some of you may have noticed, the stories that used to be at StoriesOnline.Net are coming back. This is for two main reasons, One, I like having free reads available so people can sample my writing, and be entertained (hopefully) at the same time. And Two, the stories that are going back up, are not saleable since they involve main characters under the minimum age that publishers find acceptable.

This is not a complaint, this is just the way it is.

So you the follower and/or reader of my blog will get a chance to read full blown, full length stories without having to pay one penny, mite or pence.

The only bad new, if you want to call it that, is that you will have to register with the STORIESONLINE.NET website prior to reading my stories.

Never fear, registration is free, as long as you have a valid email address, and I’ve been a member of the site long enough to know that the owner WILL NOT send you a thing without you sending them something first (like a help request).

Oh, one more thing, you get to vote on what you think of the story, and get to send me comments.

What more could you ask for?

I know, I know, the winning numbers for the next Powerball Jackpot. Sorry, if I knew those, do you really thing I would be out here in the Middle of Nowhere Afghanistan?

Enjoy.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

SAVE THE DATA, or how not to be caught flatfooted when your story goes <FOOF!>

 

The last couple of days have seen a horror stories emerge on the mailing lists of writers who’s workstations have ‘eaten’ the author’s story. One had a close call, luckily having a techie as their SO who was able to coax the data back from the brink of the abyss where deleted files go. Another writer lost, well, tens of thousands of words. Gone, poof, up in smoke like scrolls in the famed Library of Alexandria.

Having worked in the IT field long before personal computers were even around, I’ve learned that if there is a way for data to disappear, be corrupted, become unusable, it will happen. Power failures, hard drive crashes, theft (I didn’t think this one would happen until someone walked off with my laptop), or Fido finding out that your flash drive tastes yummy until he gets through the crunchy outer shell then spits out the mangled remains, all lead to same result, your labor of love is toast.

You could try re-typing (commonly call ‘rekeying’) your story <was that Adam or Harry who liked being whipped; Jill or Janice that was the green skinned alien dom>, but who’s recollection of a story is perfect? I’ve put down stories that I’ve written only to pick them up a week or two later and wonder ‘where did that scene come from’?

An easier way of recovering your story, or other data, after a disaster <notice how we techies call any unplanned loss of data a ‘disaster’> is via a backed up copy of that data.

Backing up data isn’t hard. It’s merely a copy of whatever you were working on placed in a safe location. You, the user, generally accomplishes this by performing a task that copies your documents folder (I use Windows 7 and will be using their folder structure in this post, I know nothing about Mac’s but I’m sure they have similar items, if not called the same thing) to a different location on your hard drive, one that is not normally accessed by your applications.

The easiest way of doing this is to open Windows Explorer (not Internet Explorer), click on the DOCUMENTS folder and COPY (not cut) the whole folder to another location on the hard drive. The downside of this is that you, the user, have to remember to do this, and secondly, if the hard disk crashes, everything could be wiped out.

So, a safer way would be to do the same thing, but to a different PHYSICAL LOCATION, such as an external hard drive, or external flash drive (commonly called a USB key or USB Drive). In case your primary hard drive fails, you have your data, safe and sound that you can restore once your computer is running again.

Now the most transparent way of making sure that your stories and other content are backed up is via one of the services promoted on the web for just that reason. I have personal experience with Dropbox and my wife uses Carbonite to ensure that our files are backed up as soon as changes are saved. The two I mentioned are not the only ones available. There’s MOXY and a slew of other services available (Google is your friend) to help you recover from that stress filled moment when you realize that the strange sound coming from your computer isn’t the cooling fan dying, it’s the sound of your hard drive shattering into ten thousand little pieces, taking your data with it.

I say that these are the most transparent to the user, because with the copy and paste or other manual backup solution, you have to remember to run it. With Dropbox, Carbonite, Moxy, and other on-line services, changes are saved “in the cloud” as soon as you’ve saved and closed the file. So, once you’ve finished typing in that three thousand word chapter, that four flames hot love scene that left YOU breathless, or your Michener-esque ten page description of your beautiful heroine running up the beach barefooted, and saved the document those changes are winging their way to the respective service’s storage somewhere on the Internet.

No matter what product you use, what method you choose of backing up your data, it won’t do you any good if you don’t use it, and use it regularly.

Now, this is not an intended to be all inclusive of  the different backup methods, products or services. This is simply a post to get you thinking about how to save your data so when (not IF) disaster strikes and your files go <FOOF!> they aren’t lost forever.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Updates

Just a couple of updates here.

One, first and foremost; Jason to Jessica has been put to bed. All the edits have been done, all the information that eXtasy wants has been put into the mss. and it’s in their hands. Once I have a release date, I will pass that along, with a buy link once I get that as well.

 

Second, and just as important as the first, I’m going home on leave. I take the Freedom Bird this week, destination, Atlanta. It’s not the land of mai-tais and hula skirts, but it will do.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Jason to Jessica–First Edits and Musings

firefoxThe first round of edits to Jason to Jessica have gone back to the editor. There were lots of them. It might have been this round of edits, but there was a lot of formatting and other ‘technical’ issues to work through and not much on content. Maybe that’s the next round?

 

In other musings today… Well, today is a day off for me so I’m trying to actually do some writing. But all I seem to be able to work up to is revisions and editing. PRIMAL TWO – KATIES’S RETURN is getting a beating as is TRANSFORMATIONS. It’s funny how you can go back to a story that you’ve not touched for a week or so and see all sorts of things that need correcting.

 

On a personal aside, four weeks and a couple of days before I’m out of here for leave. Bye Bye Kabul, hello Dubai.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Accepted!

I have no idea how this happened... but Jason to Jessica has been accepted by eXtacy Books for publishing!

There's all the normal things that one has to do before it's released, contract, edits, etc. but I sit here in the Tora Bora at ISAF HQ and the same thoughts run around in my head, "someone is willing to publish this?" I guess everyone goes through a variation of this type of shock the first time an acceptance notice drops into their inbox.

Now, I'm about to get a bit personal here, so bear with me, for just a bit. 

I'm a computer guy, I know bits, bytes, CPU's, cables and IBM punch cards. I've been to test depth in a Navy submarine and have known, first hand, the terror of being caught in a fire fight without having anything to shoot back with. I am not someone who has a string of alphabet soup behind his name proclaiming journalistic credentials or even a basic college degree in my native English language.

I'm just me. A guy.

And someone wants to publish something I wrote out here in the Middle of Nowhere as a way of keeping my sanity?

Will wonders ever cease?

I hope to hell not! 'Cause I plan on doing this again!  and again!

My scribblings may never get the air play of SHOGUN, but that's not going to stop me from trying to write as good a book.

But if I can go a mile underwater and surface successfully, survive rocket attacks and firefights out here in the Middle of Nowhere, who says I can't at least equal the best book I've ever read?

After all, I'm just a guy.