Old Patriot's Pen

Personal pontifications of an old geezer born 200 years too late.

NOTE The views I express on this site are mine and mine alone. Nothing I say should be construed as being "official" or the views of any group, whether I've been a member of that group or not. The advertisings on this page are from Google, and do not constitute an endorsement on my part.

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Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States

I've been everywhere That was the title of a hit country-and-western song from the late 1950's, originally sung by Hank Snow, and made famous by Johnny Cash. I resemble that! My 26-year career in the Air Force took me to more than sixty nations on five continents - sometimes only for a few minutes, other times for as long as four years at a time. In all that travel, I also managed to find the perfect partner, help rear three children, earn more than 200 hours of college credit, write more than 3000 reports, papers, documents, pamphlets, and even a handful of novels, take about 10,000 photographs, and met a huge crowd of interesting people. I use this weblog and my personal website here to document my life, and discuss my views on subjects I find interesting.

Friday, January 25, 2013

"Why Does It Matter?"

I've read a lot about Hillary Clinton's testimony to Congress about Benghazi, and her statement of "What difference does it make?"  I'd like to answer that as someone from the trenches, someone who spent the majority of his life in the Military as a mid-rank NCO.

First of all, Mrs. Clinton, we in the military have a policy that is implemented from the bottom to the top:  we do not leave our wounded -- or even our dead -- behind.  Yet not only did the Obama Administration leave people behind, they did so when they had plenty of available forces to rescue them.  That sends a message to everyone that wears a uniform, or who has ever worn a uniform:  this administration doesn't care about you.  Not only did they leave Americans behind, not only did they withhold support that was readily available, but they actually relieved commanders of their position that pushed hard to actually do what they were trained to do, and what had been instilled into them from the moment they entered the military. 

Can any reader imagine what this does to morale among the lower ranks?  Among the officers that have sworn to uphold the Constitution, and to do all they can to rescue any wounded or dead comrades?  Any officer who believes the Constitution is above the petty behavior of elected or appointed official?  It's deadly.  If it were MEANT to destroy faith among the military in their leaders, it couldn't be more deadly. 

The decline in morale among the military is only slightly greater than that among parents and loved ones of those, not only in the military, but anyone who is serving in what could at any moment become a hostile environment.  There is no faith that any member of this administration would go out of its way to rescue hostages, anywhere.  If you work for an embassy, if you're part of the military assigned to an embassy, or if you're part of a military unit assigned to a hostile war zone, you're on your own if you're captured.  If you're just an employee of a multi-national company and happen to work in what could be a hostile place (I.E., Algeria), you can't expect this administration to care.  This administration won't put itself out on your behalf, or even on your nation's behalf, if it might cost them even one vote in the next election, or one bit of bad press.

We've come a long way in the last 100 years, from an armed force that was hardly capable of wiping the nose of a tinhorn guerilla (Pancho Villa) to the finest and best military in the world today.  Yet it only takes one incident like Benghazi to destroy it all  THAT'S what difference it makes, Madame Secretary of State.  Both you and your boss are idiots for not understanding that.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

My "Other" Life

 December 28, 2012:  Time for a major update!

I've become an almost full-time writer over the last year.  In the process, I've all but forgotten this weblog (the major exception was posting the chapters of "Greenfields" here one at a time until the novel was finished).   That was a mistake.  I really need to get back to writing on this weblog at least every week, if not several times a week.

I have started reading a half-dozen writing weblogs, which is making my writing better.  At the same time, they're taking up a lot of time I used to spend doing other things (mostly reading online "news" sites).  Here are a few refreshers:

I've finished and posted three novels this year:  "Rising Storm", a sequel to "Cynthia", "Greenfields", a stand-alone in the "Last Flight" universe, and "LOST!", a stand-alone novel in the "Kings Cross" universe.

I've started between six and eight NEW novels, including "Skye's the Limit", a sequel to "The Wizard of Skye"; "King's Bench", a sequel to "King's Cross"; "Ysiyeh", the final volume in the "Cynthia" trilogy; "Roll of Honor", a totally stand-alone novel, "Heretic", a totally stand-alone novel, and a revised and updated "Introduction to HTML for Writers", plus three or four other fiction works I haven't decided on the title for yet.

I'm still not really anxious to make a lot of money writing. I'd much rather be READ than RICH. I used to give more books away than I sell -- now it's about an equal split. I especially like to give my books to people I've met and interacted with over the past 45 or 50 years. I especially like to give my books to people I went to high school with, to those I've served with in the Air Force/Army/Marines, and those I've met and developed a friendship with on the Internet.

That doesn't mean I wouldn't like to make some money at this. That is the true measure of success, I'm told. I don't want to make money off my friends and family, but I wouldn't be unhappy with making money from THEIR friends and family. Word of mouth is still the most successful form of advertisement in any market.  I just have to keep it in the low five digits if I'm to continue to draw Social Security!

For those of you who don't yet know, here are my books, in the order I wrote them, with a brief teaser and a link to where they can be found.


 (For Kindle, go here, for Nook go here.)
Mankind has wondered about life elsewhere ever since he realized the lights in the sky were other stars. Scientists dedicate their entire career to looking for extraterrestrial life. Professionals in more than a dozen specialties try to envision new ways to contact other civilizations. Nobody expected them to "just drop in".

-- In the middle of the night.
-- Forty miles from nowhere.
-- In a blizzard.
-- By the gross.

When aliens drop in, it can change your life forever.

Jim Frasier simply set out to rescue a stranger who made a wrong turn heading for a ski holiday. Instead, he finds himself trying to cope with disaster on a dozen levels at once. He has to somehow keep 700 aliens from freezing to death. He has to get help, and he knows that if he doesn’t do it quietly, he’ll be overrun by media and the curious. The complications are enormous – Jim has never faced anything like this before. Food for 700 people, with obvious different backgrounds and different nutritional needs, is alone a catastrophe waiting to happen, and that’s just one of many problems he faces. Just accepting these strange creatures actually exist was a major challenge.

Debbie Fontenot, young, deeply battered by a past she'd like to forget, suddenly finds herself shoved into a series of dilemmas. On a professional level, she’s challenged to provide emergency treatment to creatures that are definitely not human, but who, without care, will surely die. She’s confronted on a personal level by events that shove her into the arms of a loving older man.

And John Tolliver, the sheriff of a small, peaceful mountain county, suddenly finds himself not only the center of the most historical event in a thousand years, but is also confronted by murder, mischief, and a plot to steal half the county.

Last Flight from Queensland Station

 (For Kindle, go here, for Nook go here.)
Queensland station was a nice place, until a rogue neutron star decided to pay a visit. Then the entire civilized galaxy had to pitch in to move the inhabitants out of harm’s way. A few brave scientists, and the crew of the Galactic Communications and Information (GCI) heavy cruiser Excalibur, would remain behind to record the planet’s demise.

Another group, using the evacuation of Queensland Station for its own purposes, plans to make it Excalibur’s final moment, as well. Their failure puts the lives of more than two hundred men and women in great danger, and sets up a confrontation between what some feel is the most powerful non-government group in the galaxy and those that have attacked it.

Last Flight from Queensland Station is suspense, drama, intrigue, romance and comedy, mixed together in a fast-paced, easy-to-read story.


(For Kindle, go here, for Nook go here.)

Cynthia Canarias was a nice young girl who'd attended all the "right" schools, learned all the "right" subjects, and always moved in the "right" circles. Cynthia wanted more than just a quick marriage to the "right" person - chosen by her mother - and a long, dreary life as someone's personal possession. When she tried to find a different life, she found out just how poorly all those "right" things prepared her for reality.

Reality turned ugly quickly, and Cynthia found herself thrust into a series of difficult situations that took every bit of ability, skill, and just plain luck she possessed to survive. She and her new friend, her first real friend, Judy Garcia, not only managed to survive, but to end up fabulously wealthy young ladies. Judy also found romance, and began her own family. That was something Cynthia desperately wanted, but it seemed to constantly elude her, until one young man with the courage to persist entered her life. Reality once more interfered, and Cynthia was once again faced with the possibility of a deep personal loss. Fighting for what she wants encounters some complications, including some totally unexpected - and even humorous - ones.

The Wizard of Skye

(For Kindle, go here, for Nook go here.)

Jaren Nordreiker was a nice young man from a planet that didn't believe in mental powers - what the rest of the galaxy called "Magic". He'd still found a way to attend the prestigious "College of Wizardry" on Frome. His newly-minted diploma, even with honors ribbons, appeared to be no help, however, in finding a job in his chosen field, weather manipulation. He'd been barred from joining the Society of Magicians, who control most of the jobs graduates from the College of Wizardry usually fill.
Finding a job that didn't require membership in the Society of Magicians wasn't impossible, only quite difficult. Jaren finally accepts conditional employment on the strange world of Skye, which apparently won't hire anyone who IS a member of the Society. It's not an easy job. The weather on Skye can be unbelievable at times. His job is made more difficult by another person who unknowingly interferes with his work, and by a growing feud between the Society of Magicians and worlds like Skye.

King's Cross

(For Kindle, go here, for Nook go here.)
Steve came fully awake slowly. He knew he wasn’t alone in the room. There were at least three other people with him – he could see that many feet. He had no way of knowing if there were more in the room without letting them know he had regained consciousness.

“I think he’s awake,” a quiet, whispery voice said.

“Good,” a more guttural voice answered from behind Steve. “We have much to say to him, and much to discuss.”

“Where’s Tommy?” Steve asked, not moving from where he lay.

“Tommy? Oh, the boy. He’s safe, don’t worry about him,” the guttural voice answered. “You are hungry. You need to eat and drink. When you are finished, we will talk.”

“I want to see Tommy! He’s my responsibility. I’m supposed to keep him safe,” Steve answered.

“Eat, young Marine,” the whispery voice said. “Your young boy child will not come to harm. He is safe with us. Hurry, eat. We have much to discuss.”

Steve realized he wasn’t going to get any further answers, and gradually sat up. The room was small. The seven people in it made it even smaller. One reached down and grasped his right hand, easing him to his feet. As Steve stopped swaying, an eighth person brought a tray of food into the room. Her appearance – she was definitely female – and her clothing gave him his first indication of who had kidnapped him. That knowledge only made him more curious. Why would the Universal Church, known for its peaceful behavior and generous philanthropy, suddenly begin kidnapping people?

Being kidnapped was just the beginning of a new life for Steve, one he’d never have considered before. Only time would tell what that new life would mean, not only for him but for his sister and her husband, his best friend and fellow Marine, Rob Wollcott.

Rising Storm

(For Kindle, go here, for Nook go here.)
Cynthia Canarias had finally found the man of her dreams, and had married him. Their future was destined not to be one of quiet comfort, however, as events around them wouldn't let them be ignored. Cynthia and Tim were forced to expand and change their lives time and again as the enemies that arose against them pressured them, pursued them, and hounded them and their commercial companies.
Cynthia and Tim, with Judy and Bodinghe, were under constant attacks from both internal enemies of the Council of Worlds, and also by dozens of invading species of aliens. Some of the invading species were friendly, but still placed demands on Cynthia and her family that only expansion and growth would relieve.

The more Cynthia worked to reduce the pressure on her family, the more she came to the attention of the Council of Worlds government, until she's forced both by circumstances and government action to take over as the governor of DownHome. Her actions draw both anger and praise as she continues to succeed against incredible odds. Cynthia has to decide, repeatedly, if the costs of success are worth it, and what she should do as the dangers grow around her.


(For Kindle, go here, for Nook go here.)

Jeff Sullivan, a geologist under contract to evaluate several mineral veins for the company that hired him, thought he was the only person on the as-yet-unnamed planet. A brigade of Global Communications and Information (GCI) battle marines forced him to re-evaluate the situation. What would GCI Marines be doing on this out-of-the-way place not one in a billion people had ever heard of?
A herd of mongolores, a species native to another world several hundred light-years away, tells Jeff that something was not right where he is. The actions of another group, an unknown alien species herding the mongolores, forces Jeff to not only seek shelter from the GCI Marines, but also warn them they are in danger.
Jeff volunteers to help the Marines discover who is behind the mongolore stampede, and several other hostile attacks. In the process, he helps uncover a major plot aimed at destroying both GCI and much of the Council of Worlds government – from within.
Fate and circumstances force Jeff into roles he had not expected to play for another decade, including that of husband, father, and most importantly for him and his family, protector. He finds himself embroiled in both GCI and Council of Worlds politics, trying to keep his wife, his family, and his new friends, safe.


(For Kindle, go here, for Nook go here.)
The prestigious Sun-Dancer luxury passenger liner on a voyage in between worlds in a crowded part of Human space was on course and on schedule when their world fell apart around them. First they were kicked somewhere within a huge sphere, but no longer in Human-occupied space, then ejected from Transspace. Then their engines were destroyed, and most of their stored power is lost. The crew manages to wrestle the ship to the ground on a mercifully inhabitable planet nearby.
The captain of the Sun-Dancer would soon come to view that as a minor miracle. Factions form from the very beginning - those that don't believe the ship is disabled, those that believe they'll be found immediately, and those that don't believe they need "them" to help them survive, even those that believe they should be waited on as if nothing had happened - create a hostile atmosphere matched by the hostility of the flora and fauna of their new home.
The shaping of a somewhat stable society from among a dozen bickering parties, establishing a place to live on a hostile world, and smoothing the hostilities between human and alien societies, would require all the leadership, energy, and activity the surviving passengers and crew could spare.